May 21, 2024

Retired Chief Judge John C. Martin Passes

John C. Martin, who served the Council of Chief Judges as its president  in 2014,  died peacefully at his home in Raleigh, North Carolina on April 9, 2024.   He was 80 years old.  A Durham native who attended Wake Forest University law school and served briefly on the Durham City Council, Martin was first appointed as a Superior Court judge in 1977. He was first elected to the North Carolina Court of Appeals in 1984. He ultimately served on the court for more than 24 years, including 10 as chief judge from 2004 until he retired in 2014.

After his retirement in 2015, he was honored by the North Carolina Supreme Court Historical Society, “as a man who gave every bit of his considerable talent to his job, his court and his State, all day, every day.”

In 2021 he was inducted into the Council of Chief Judges of the State Courts of Appeal Hall of Fame.   On that occasion the   Past President of the North Carolina Bar Association,  John R. Wester,  spoke of Judge Martin: “He was more than an exemplary member of the bench. He chaired the Judicial Standards Commission, a guardian of the conduct of our judges, and he volunteered for committee service for the North Carolina Bar Association.  During his 30-plus years on the bench, Judge Martin combined scholarship with collegiality and dedication to upholding the rule of law.” .

Martin’s  services were held at  Christ Episcopal Church in downtown Raleigh, where he was a member.   After his retirement, Martin continued to serve on the Council of Chief Judges of the State Courts of Appeal and was inducted into the Council’s  Hall of Fame for his exemplary public service.

North Carolina  Governor  Roy Cooper ordered the United States and North Carolina Flags lowered to half staff in honor of Judge Martin.  In a statement to the press, the Governor declared:  “The Honorable John C. Martin was an exemplary public servant and judge who served the state for over 30 years on the bench. I was saddened to hear of his passing and my thoughts and prayers are with his friends and loved ones at this time.”

Survivors include his wife, Margaret, who was well known to members of the Council,  five children and nine grandchildren.

March 19, 2024

Justice Gonzalo Martinez Nominated to Preside Over Division 7 of California’s Second District Court of Appeal

Gonzalo Martinez, who has served as an Associate Justice on the Second District Court of Appeal, Division Seven since 2023,  has been nominated to serve as the division’s  Presiding Justice.   Justice Martinez previously served as Deputy Judicial Appointments Secretary in the Office of Governor Gavin Newsom from 2019 to 2023, as a Deputy Solicitor General in the California Attorney General’s Office from 2017 to 2019 and was a Partner in the Appellate and Supreme Court Practice Group at Squire Patton Boggs from 2007 to 2017.     Justice Martinez also served as a Law Clerk at the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in 2010 and at the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California in 2007. He was an Associate at Coblentz Patch Duffy and Bass LLP from 2005 to 2007 and at Morrison & Foerster LLP from 2003 to 2005. Justice Martinez earned a Juris Doctor degree from Harvard Law School and a Master of Arts degree in English from Stanford University. He fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Presiding Justice Dennis M. Perluss. This position requires confirmation by the Commission on Judicial Appointments, which consists of Chief Justice Patricia Guerrero, Attorney General Rob Bonta and Senior Presiding Justice Arthur Gilbert

March 19, 2024

Massachusetts Appeal Court Chief Justice Mark Green Announces Retirement

Mark V. Green, the chief justice of the Massachusetts Appeals Court,  will step down from his post later this year after serving on the court since 2001 and for the last six years as its chief.  The vacancy will be filled by Governor Maura Healey.   Green said he’ll resign Sept. 1 — the day of his 68th birthday.

Green, an appointee of three separate Republican governors, isn’t slated to hit the state’s mandatory retirement age until September 2026, but said he decided to step down after weighing “a mix of personal and professional considerations,”

Chief Justice Green was born in Moline, Illinois, on September 1, 1956.  Green received   his A.B. degree, with distinction in all subjects, from Cornell University in 1978, and his J.D. degree, cum laude, from Harvard Law School in 1982.  He  worked as an associate with the firms of Herrick & Smith and Goulston & Storrs until 1990, practicing transactional real estate law. He then joined Shawmut Bank as the Vice President and Senior Counsel for Real Estate. He was General Counsel for The Mortgage Acquisition Corporation from 1994 to 1995 when he joined the legal department of BayBank, which merged with Bank of Boston in 1996. In May 1997, Governor William F. Weld appointed Green to the Massachusetts Land Court. He served as an associate justice of that court until his appointment by Governor Jane M. Swift to the Massachusetts Appeals Court in 2001

On December 6, 2017, he was appointed Chief Justice of the Appeals Court by Governor Charles D. Baker.

Chief Justice Green has been a panelist on numerous continuing legal education programs sponsored by Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education and the Boston Bar Association, among others.  He also has been a guest lecturer for courses at the Harvard Business School and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Center for Real Estate Studies.  From 2007 until his appointment as Chief Justice, he served as a member of the Board of Editors of the Boston Bar Journal. In 2005 and 2009, Chief Justice Green participated in rule of law exchange programs in Russia and, in 2011, he was a member of a rule of law exchange in the Peoples Republic of China which focused on the American jury trial system.

Chief Justice Green is active in the Council of Chief Judges of the State Courts of Appeal,  serving as its Vice President and as a member of the Executive, Strategic Planning, Finance and Annual Conference Committees.  He also  served as Secretary-Treasurer and chair of the Finance Committee in 2023, and as chair of the Annual Conference Committee, and of the Conference Host Committee, in 2021.

He is married, with two children.

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October 03, 2023

Chief Justice Dori Contreras of Texas Court of Appeals Decides Not To Seek Re-Election

Chief Justice Dori Contreras of the Texas  13th Court of Appeals has announced that she will not seek re-election to her term which expires at the end of 2024.  The first female chief justice of the 13th Court of Appeals and only the second Latina Chief Justice statewide, she has been a member of the Texas judiciary for over two decades.

The first in her family to graduate from college, Chief Justice Contreras attended the University of Texas at Austin from which she received a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting in December of 1980. She worked as an accountant before beginning law school at the University of Houston .  She received her law degree in 1990 and was one of six students to receive a distinguished service award on graduation. She engaged in the civil practice of law and also owned a professional dispute resolution firm before her election to the court of appeals in 2002.

Contreras has served as Chair of the Council of Chief Justices, a body comprised of the fourteen Chief Justices of Texas’s appeals courts. In this role, she was a spokesperson for all fourteen courts and actively worked to secure more funding for the courts of appeals during legislative sessions.

She has made it clear that while she has decided not to seek re-election she is not “retiring.”  She plans to establish a mediation practice and may serve as a visiting judge. Additionally, she hopes to teach at a university or law school and spend more time with her family, which includes a husband, three children and five grandchildren . “The sky will be the limit in this next chapter of my life,” she proclaimed.

Chief Justice Contreras expressed her gratitude to her supporters, saying, “It is with great pride and comfort that I will leave knowing I made a positive impact on the court and the community.” She believes her successor will inherit a court that stands out for its “efficient performance, sound jurisprudence, and a balanced budget,” thanks to her long-standing efforts.


October 02, 2023

Minnesota Court of Appeals Celebrates 40th Anniversary

The Minnesota Court of Appeals is celebrating its 40th anniversary with events in October and November  that  commemorate the occasion and educate the public about the court.  On October 5, a Court of Appeals reunion will be held where past and present Court of Appeals staff, clerks and judges will gather to share memories about the court

On October 17,  Minnesota Court of Appeals Chief Judge Susan Segal, and fellow Court of Appeals Judges Lucinda Jesson (retired) and Francis Connolly, will hear a reenactment of the very first case argued before the Court of Appeal.

On November 2, a 40th Anniversary Symposium will be held at the University of St. Thomas Law School  where Star Tribune columnist Lori Sturdevant will speak about the campaign to create the Court of Appeals, a panel will discuss the future of the Court of  Appeals and a second panel of appellate judges and law school professors  will discuss   the role of state appellate courts and state constitutions.

Don Verrilli, former United States Solicitor General, will deliver a  Keynote speech on intermediate courts of appeal and the rule of law.

On  November  21  oral arguments will be conducted at  Waseca High School by a three-judge panel  in front of a student audience.

An online digital display will feature  a complete history of the Court of Appeals, its judges, oral history videos, and Law in Action videos.

As part of its 40th anniversary festivities, the Court of Appeals also attended celebratory events in Steele, Ottertail, and St. Louis counties.

The Minnesota Court of Appeals began operating in November 1983. Today, it hears roughly 2,000 appeals each year from district court decisions and administrative agencies, with the exception of first-degree murder, tax, and worker’s compensation cases. Three-judge panels hear cases in St. Paul’s Minnesota Judicial Center, in courtrooms around the state, and via livestreaming.

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September 29, 2023

Missouri Chief Judge Kelly Broniec Appointed to Missouri Supreme Court

Missouri Governor  Mike Parson announced Judge Kelly Broniec as his choice to fill an open seat on the Missouri Supreme Court.

Broniec, 52, currently serves as chief judge of the Missouri’s Eastern District Court of Appeals in St. Louis. She will fill the vacancy left by Judge George W. Draper III, who retired earlier this month. With Broniec’s appointment, women will occupy   four of the seven seats on the court.

“I come from a small town and to have this opportunity to serve on the court with three other women and knowing that we’ll be one of only 11 states in the country to have a majority of women on the state’s highest court is quite an honor,” Broniec said.

“I will do my best to bring common sense, practicality and respect for the rule of law to my work at the court, along with the important values of humility, kindness, and hard work that I learned from my grandparents,”

Parson appointed Broniec to serve on the Eastern District Appeals Court in 2020. Before that, she served as an associate circuit judge in Montgomery County for nearly 15 years. She was the Montgomery County prosecuting attorney from 1999 to 2006

July 24, 2023

Thomas Logue Elected Chief Judge of Florida’s Third District Court of Appeal


The Honorable Thomas Logue,  appointed to  the Third District Court of Appeal in 2012,  has been elected chief judge of the Court  which hears appeals from trial courts and administrative bodies located in Miami-Dade and Monroe counties

Judge Logue, who  has presided  over thousands of cases and written hundreds  of opinions,  was  appointed by the chief justice of the Florida Supreme Court to teach new appellate judges and to advise on budgets for the district courts statewide. He regularly lectures to appellate and trial judges, lawyers and law students.

Before being appointed to the bench, Judge Logue served as an assistant county attorney for Miami-Dade County from 1982 to 2012.  In that capacity, he litigated hundreds of state and federal cases in the areas of constitutional law, torts, contracts, taxes, civil rights, zoning, real estate valuation, copyrights, and bonds.  He tried numerous jury and non-jury trials. For thirty years, he argued appeals in state and federal courts, including the Florida Supreme Court, the United States Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, and the Third District Court of Appeal.  Both Florida Trend Magazine and the South Florida Legal Guide named him a “Top Government Attorney.”  His Martindale-Hubbell rating is AV, the highest peer rating for legal ability and ethics.

Judge Logue taught Florida Constitutional law as an adjunct professor at the University of Miami School of Law and St. Thomas University School of Law.   He published articles in law reviews, bar journals, and newspapers on the topics of takings, federalism, civil procedure, administrative law, and legal history.

Judge Logue received a B.A. in English Literature, cum laude, from Dickinson College and a J.D. from Duke University, where he served on the editorial board of the Duke Law Journal.


July 17, 2023

Judge Maxine Aldridge White Selected by Wisconsin Supreme Court to Serve as Chief Judge of the Wisconsin Court of Appeals

The Wisconsin Supreme Court recently appointed Maxine White, a judge with more than 30 years of judicial experience, as the new Chief Judge of the Wisconsin Court of Appeals,  effective August 1, 2023.  She is the first woman of color to serve on the Wisconsin Court of Appeals.  She was appointed to the appeals court on January 16, 2020, after serving as a Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge  from 1992, during which time she also served as Chief Judge of the First Judicial District.

Judge White graduated from Alcorn State University, received a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Southern California and a Juris Doctor from Marquette Law School.

July 17, 2023

Justice Laurie Earl Confirmed as Presiding Justice of California’s Third District Court of Appeal

In 2021, Governor Gavin Newsom tapped Laurie M. Earl for a vacancy on the Third District Court of Appeal. The former Sacramento County Superior Court judge was confirmed in January 2022 to become the District’s  first LGBTQ member.  In March 2023 Governor Newsom  nominated her to serve as its presiding justice.   In July  she was confirmed to that post.

Before becoming a judge,  Justice Earl Justice Earl graduated from University of California at Berkeley and then earned a Juris Doctor degree from the Lincoln Law School of Sacramento.  She served as an Assistant Public Defender in  the Sacramento County Public Defender’s Office from 1989 to 1995,  and a Deputy District Attorney in the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office from 1995 to 2004.  She was a Senior Assistant Inspector General at the California Office of Inspector General from 2004 to 2005 until  her appointment to    the Sacramento County Superior Court where she served from 2005 to 2021.

In 2012 she was elected by the judges of the Sacramento County Superior Court to the position of presiding judge.  In 2010, she was named Judge of the Year by the Capitol City Trial Lawyers Association.

July 17, 2023

Judge James Edwards New Chief Judge Florida’s Fifth District Court of Appeal







Judge James A. Edwards has served on Florida’s Fifth District Court of Appeal since   2014.

On July 1, Judge Edwards began his service as chief judge of the   District,  succeeding Judge Brian D. Lambert.

He is a member of the Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee, received the Joseph Milton Award for Civility and Professionalism from the State of Florida Chapters of the American Board of Trial Advocates in 2022 and was recognized in 2017 as Jurist of the Year by the Central Florida Chapter of ABOTA

Judge Edwards  served 35 years in  private practice   He was a Florida Bar Board certified civil trial specialist and had an extensive appellate practice as well.

He  graduated with high honors from both Auburn University,  where he majored in psychology,  and the University of Florida College of Law where  he  was inducted into the Order of the Coif.




July 17, 2023

Judge Amanda H. Mercier Selected Chief Judge of Georgia Court of Appeals


Judge Amanda Mercier, appointed to  the Georgia Court of Appeals in 2015, was sworn in as the new chief judge of the court on June 22, 2023.

June Mercier attended the University of Georgia, where she graduated cum laude with a B.A. in 1998. She then attended Syracuse University College of Law in New York, where she graduated magna cum laude with a J.D. in 2001.  She was selected for membership in  the Order of the Coif.  Mercier was a partner in the law firm of Ralston and Mercier when appointed to the Appalachian Circuit bench on April 16, 2010. She was re-elected to the circuit court in 2012 and  was appointed to the Georgia Court of Appeals by Gov. Nathan Deal on October 29, 2015.

She was serving as Vice Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals  at the time of her selection as Chief Judge.

July 17, 2023

Tracie Brown – New Presiding Justice – First Appellate District, San Francisco


Justice Tracie L. Brown was appointed Presiding Justice of Division Four of the First District Court of Appeal by Governor Gavin Newsom, and confirmed by the Commission on Judicial Appointments on April 7, 2023. She  served as an Associate Justice in Division Four since November 2018.

Before her appellate court appointment, Justice Brown served for five years on the San Francisco Superior Court, where she presided over a wide variety of criminal cases.   She was also twice elected to the Superior Court’s Executive Committee.

Justice Brown graduated Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude from Harvard University in 1992.  After spending a year working in Japan, she received a J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law in 1996, where she received numerous academic awards.  After law school, Justice Brown clerked for Judge M. Margaret McKeown on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, worked  as an associate for Morrison & Foerster LLP and Cooley LLP,   and thereafter  joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California where she  tried numerous civil and criminal cases to verdict and argued several cases before the Ninth Circuit.

Justice Brown has taught trial advocacy at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law since 2013.

January 24, 2023

Judge Robert Altice Elected New Chief Judge of Indiana Court of Appeal

Judge Robert R. Altice Jr. became chief judge of the 15 member Court of Appeals of Indiana on Jan. 1

The judges of the Court of Appeals   elected Altice to a three-year term as chief, succeeding   Cale Bradford, who  led the lower appellate court since 2020.  A new chief judge is elected every three years.

Altice’s served  15 years on the Marion Superior Court, where he  was presiding judge from 2009-2011.  Prior to his judicial service, he spent  16 years in the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office, including three years as chief of the Felony Division;  practiced law  in Indianapolis, where he concentrated on insurance defense;  and practiced  in Kansas City, Missouri, where he focused on medical malpractice defense.    He was also a deputy prosecutor in Jackson County, Missouri. During his time as a trial judge, he presided over more than 250 major felony jury trials and 15 civil jury trials.

Altice earned his undergraduate degree from Miami University of Ohio, a master’s degree in criminal justice administration from the University of Central Missouri and a J.D. from the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law.

As chief judge, Altice will represent the court at public and private events, attending ceremonies, serve  as liaison to the legislative and executive branches of government, and  be in charge of the court’s administrative functions.


January 24, 2023

Judge Jennifer Attrep Sworn In as New Mexico Chief Judge


Following an election by her colleagues on the New Mexico Court of Appeals, Judge Jennifer Attrep is the new chief judge of the Court.   The ten membaers of the Court of Appeals selected her to a term expiring in January 2025, succeeding Judge J. Miles Hanisee, who had served as Chief Judge since October 2019.

In addition to hearing cases, the chief judge serves as the administrative authority over personnel, budgets and general operations of the Court of Appeals.

“My focus will be attaining sufficient resources and examining our court processes to reduce the time it takes to resolve appeals so the court can better serve the public,” said Chief Judge Attrep.

Chief Judge Attrep grew up in Los Alamos. She was appointed to the Court of Appeals in 2018, after serving on the First Judicial District Court. She received a bachelor’s degree in economics and government from the College of Williams & Mary and a juris doctor degree in 2006 from the University of Virginia School of Law. She served as a law clerk for Judge Richard J. Leon in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. She worked in private practice in Washington, D.C. and in Santa Fe before joining the district court.

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January 24, 2023

Judge Michael Guidry Becomes 15th Chief Judge in 100 Year History of Louisiana’s First Circuit


John Michael Guidry, a judge on the First Circuit of the Louisiana Court of Appeal since 1997, has become   the 15th Chief Judge  in the 100 year history of the First Circuit.   The  Circuit,  located in East Baton Rouge Parish,  is one of five Louisiana intermediate appellate courts.  The circuit of 12 judges has jurisdiction over sixteen parishes in Southeastern Louisiana.

Judge Guidry is a 1983 graduate of Louisiana State University  and a 1987 graduate of Southern University Law Center.

Before assuming judicial office, Judge Guidry served in the Louisiana legislature, elected first to the House of Representatives and elected  two years later to the State Senate.  In addition to elective judicial and legislative service, Judge Guidry  served as the Assistant Clerk of the Louisiana House of Representatives,  as an assistant parish attorney,  a commissioner of the Greater Baton Rouge Port  and served on the Greater Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport Commission.  Since 1988, Judge Guidry has served as an adjunct professor at the Southern University Law Center and  as an adjunct professor at the Nelson Mandela School of Public Policy at Southern University for more than 25 years.

He has been a frequent lecturer at continuing legal education programs.  He  has been twice appointed by the Louisiana Supreme Court, on the recommendation of its Chief Justice, to serve on the governing body of the Louisiana Judicial College and in 2014  served as President of the Louisiana Judicial College Board of Governors.


December 02, 2022

Maryland appellate Courts Are Renamed Effective December 14

On December 14, 2022,   the names of Maryland’s two appellate courts will change and the “judges” on Maryland’s top court will become “justices,” with Chief Judge Matthew J. Fader becoming chief justice.,

The Court of Appeals will become the “Supreme Court of Maryland” and the Court of Special Appeals will become the “Appellate Court of Maryland.”

The new nomenclature is “a change in name only,” the Judiciary recently stated on its website.  The appellate courts’ “precedents, rules and all other practices … are unaffected by the change and will continue in force,” the Judiciary added.

The General Assembly approved the name-changing amendment for referendum at the urging of then-Court of Appeals Chief Judge Barbera last year.  Barbera said then that many nonlawyers and attorneys from out of state justifiably presume Maryland’s court of last resort would have the name “Supreme” as is the case in every other state except New York, which also has an ultimate Court of Appeals.

“The efforts to resolve the confusion caused by the names of Maryland’s appellate courts are not new, going back to the 1967-68 Constitutional Commission and Convention and then again throughout the 1990s,” Barbera said after the amendment cleared the legislature. “I am gratified that the General Assembly has supported a long needed change that will help the people of Maryland and beyond understand Maryland courts better.”

Fader, then Court of Special Appeals chief judge, told legislators last year that changing the name of the intermediate court was also necessary because the current name had become a “misnomer.”“Court of Special Appeals” was correct when it reviewed only a “special” category of cases, namely criminal appeals, said Fader, whom Hogan appointed Court of Appeals chief judge in April.

However,  the Court of Special Appeals has for decades heard all manner of appeals from the state’s circuit courts.  The impetus for the change from “judge” to “justice” began with former Court of Appeals Chief Judge Robert M. Bell, who stepped down in 2013 upon reaching the state’s mandatory judicial retirement age of 70.   Bell used to chide attorneys who mistakenly referred to the high court’s judges as “justices,” telling them that there was no justice in Maryland.

December 02, 2022

Therese Stewart Confirmed as First Lesbian California Presiding Justice

California’s  Judicial Appointments Commission  confirmed Therese Stewart as presiding justice of the  San Francisco’s 1st District Court of Appeal’s Division Two after hearing testimony from the justice and several witnesses on November 30.  Governor Gavin Newsom had nominated Stewart for the post in October.

A UC Berkeley School of Law graduate, Stewart succeeds retired presiding justice J. Anthony Kline, who sat by her during the hearing Wednesday and presided over her enrobing ceremony.

Stewart, whose father’s name is embroidered inside her robe, thanked her family , including her wife and partner of 30 years, Carole Scagnetti, and their daughter.

Appointed as an associate justice by  former governor Jerry Brown,  Stewart  became the   second LGBTQ appeals court jurist after gay Justice James M. Humes of San Francisco, whom Brown had named to the appellate bench in 2012.  Two years later Brown elevated Humes to be the presiding justice of the 1st District Court of Appeal’s Division One.  Since 2018, Humes has been the administrative presiding justice of the First Appellate District.

Wednesday Humes, as a member of the Commission on Judicial Appointments,  took part in voting to confirm Stewart.   Joining him in the unanimous vote were outgoing California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye and Attorney General Rob Bonta.

“What impresses me the most about you is the way you have lived your entire professional career as an open and proud lesbian,” said Humes. “You started your career 40 years ago when it was not a career builder to be out, far from it.”

The State Bar Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation found Stewart to be exceptionally well qualified, chair Adam Hofmann disclosed at the hearing.

As a former deputy city attorney in San Francisco, Stewart had defended Newsom when he served as mayor of the city.  She was part of the legal team that defended Newsom in state court after he ordered city officials to marry same-sex couples   in the winter of 2014 shortly after he became mayor.

She went on to successfully argue for the right of same-sex couples to wed before the California Supreme Court, which overturned the state’s anti-gay marriage statutes in 2008. The court’s ruling led to the ballot fight over the issue and eventual voter passage of Proposition 8, a constitutional amendment that banned same-sex marriage in the Golden State.

She lost a second case before the state court seeking to overturn Prop 8 but did successfully argue it should not annul the some 18,000 marriages that had taken place prior to Election Day.  After two same-sex couples filed a federal lawsuit against the proposition,   Stewart was part of a City Attorney’s Office legal team that worked on it.

Attorney General Bonta, who worked for a decade with Stewart in the city attorney’s office, praised her for the “trust and support” that she had provided the younger attorneys in the public law office.

There are now five LGBTQ appeal court justices in the state.


November 28, 2022

New West Virginia Intermediate Court of Appeals Hears First Cases

The new West Virginia Intermediate Court of Appeals heard its first   oral arguments  November 10.  Chief Judge Dan Greear began the morning session by taking a moment to memorialize the historic event.  He thanked the court staff, the legislature, the governor and the state Supreme Court which oversaw the court’s established following passage of legislation creating the Court.

The Court began receiving appeals four months before the first oral argument.  The court . heard two cases, an appeal of a Family Court decision, and a workers’ compensation case.  The new court expects to consider between 800 to 1000 cases a year.  The first argument was held in the court’s Charleston courtroom.  The court will also hold arguments in Beckley, New Martinsville and Weston.

September 12, 2022

Iowa Trailblazer Judge Rosemary Sackett Passes

The first woman to serve as president of the Council of Chief Judges of State Courts of Appeal has died.   She passed away on September 2, 2022 at her home in Okoboji, Iowa, with her family by her side.   Judge Rosemary Shaw Sackett was born in Fort Dodge, Iowa and raised in Pocahontas Iowa.  She had a distinguished academic career, graduating cum laude in three years  from Buena Vista College.  She entered Drake University Law School at the age of 19 as the only woman in her class and three years later was the only woman to pass the Iowa Bar exam, after which she joined her father in the practice of law, becoming the fourth generation of her family to practice law in Iowa.  She later practiced law in  Spencer, Iowa where her husband and his father were lawyers. For nineteen of twenty years she was the only female attorney in Spencer.

In 1983, at the age of 43, she was appointed to the Iowa Court of Appeals by Governor Terry Brandstad. In 1990 she earned a Master of Laws from the University of Virginia.   In 1999 she was elected by her peers as Chief Judge of the court, a position that she held until mandatory retirement at age 72.  During her tenure, and  5 additional years of service as a Senior Judge,   she authored more than 2,400 majority opinions.    She was the longest serving judge in the history of the Iowa Court of Appeals.  Away from the court she wrote children’s books, novels, and poems while raising five children with her husband Bill.     In 2006, she received an Honorary Doctorate in Public Service from Buena Vista College.   A collection of Judge Sackett’s papers are housed at the Iowa Women’s Archives at the University of Iowa Library.  In 2015 Judge Sackett was inducted into the Council’s Hall of Fame.    (see   A graveside service is scheduled for  September 24, 2022 at St. Margaret s Cemetery, 13971 240th Ave, Spirit Lake, IA 51360.


June 15, 2022

Dan Greear First Chief Judge of West Va Intermediate Court of Appeal

The three judges of the Intermediate Court of Appeals of West Virginia (ICA) selected  Judge Dan Greear to be the first  chief judge.

Chief Judge Greear will serve as chief judge for the remainder of 2022 and in 2023. Judge Tom Scarr will be chief judge in 2024, and Judge Charles Lorensen will be chief judge in 2025. Like the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia, the ICA judges choose their chief and set the term of the position.

“I am honored to have been chosen by my colleagues to be the first chief judge of this new court. We have a unique opportunity to build a new appellate court from scratch, and we want to build one that is accessible, transparent, and fair,” Chief Judge Greear said. Governor Jim Justice appointed the three ICA judges. Chief Judge Greear’s term ends December 31, 2026; Judge Scarr’s term ends December 31, 2024; and Judge Lorensen’s term ends December 31, 2028. After the initial terms, ICA judges will be elected to 10- year terms.

The Legislature established the ICA in 2021. The ICA judges will hear appeals of civil cases, appeals from family courts (except domestic violence cases), appeals from state agencies or administrative law judges, and workers’ compensation appeals.

For the convenience of the litigants, many of whom may be representing themselves in family court cases, the ICA will have satellite courtrooms in five county judicial buildings. The locations are spread throughout the state, with the goal being that a litigant will not have to drive further than 90 minutes to reach an ICA satellite courtroom.


June 15, 2022

Klingensmith new Florida Chief Judge

Judge Mark W. Klingensmith recently began his service as chief judge of the Fourth District Court of Appeal, succeeding Judge Burton C. Conner.

As chief judge, Klingensmith will oversee all administrative matters of the court including budgeting, scheduling, and bench-bar relations.

Chief Judge Klingensmith has served on the Fourth DCA since his appointment in 2013. Before his elevation to the appeals court, he was a judge in the 19th Judicial Circuit. Prior to taking the bench, Klingensmith practiced civil litigation in private practice for 25 years and was board certified in civil trial practice since 2001.  In 2008 he was elected commissioner for the Town of Sewall’s Point and served terms as vice mayor and mayor.

Klingensmith received his B.A. degree in 1982, and his J.D. in 1985, both from the University of Florida. He received his LL.M. in judicial studies from Duke University in 2016.

March 03, 2022

E. Gregory Wells New Chief Judge of Maryland Court of Special Appeals

Gregory Wells, has been designated as the new chief judge of the Court of Special Appeals, to take office in April 2022 when the current chief judge, Matthew J. Fader, becomes a member of the state court of appeals bench.

The Court of Special Appeals is Maryland’s intermediate appellate court. The Court considers appeals from almost any case that originates in a circuit court or an orphans’ court in Maryland. Parties who are unsuccessful in the Court of Special Appeals may be able to seek further review in the Court of Appeals, Maryland’s highest cou

“Wells will be the first African American to serve as chief judge of the court of special appeals and the first openly LGBTQ person to serve as chief judge of either of Maryland’s appellate courts,” a press release from the governor’s office stated.

The University of Virginia law school graduate has served on the court of special appeals since 2019.

Prior to that Wells served as a circuit court judge for Calvert County and a district court judge in the three Southern Maryland counties.

In late 2005, Wells was appointed by two circuit court judges to fill the unexpired term of Calvert State’s Attorney Robert Riddle, who was appointed to the district court bench. At the time of that appointment, Wells was serving as the Calvert Circuit Court’s master for domestic relations and juvenile causes.

February 02, 2022

Interview with Gilbert Roman – Newly Appointed Chief Judge of Colorado Court of Appeals

A few facts:

Judge Roman has been on the court since 2005 – previously in private practice, focusing on complex civil litigation, employment law and alternative dispute resolution.  Was deputy chief for retired Chief Judge Steve Bernard.

The Colorado Court of Appeals  has 22 members

Colorado Politics: People can probably understand the essence of what Court of Appeals judges do — they hear appeals of cases. But it’s probably not apparent what the chief judge’s role is. Can you walk me through how the chief judge is different from the court’s other 21 members?

Román: We all decide opinions, so as chief judge I would continue to decide opinions, but not as much as I did as an active judge. As the chief judge, I would have a lot more of the administrative responsibilities of the court.

There are 110 folks that I’m going to be responsible for on the court, coming from different groups. There are the 22 active judges, but we also have staff attorneys (24 of them), including motions and jurisdiction attorneys; we have two reporters [editors]; we have 44 law clerks; and, we also have senior judges. Part of being the chief is getting with and responding to all of those various groups and individuals.

There are also duties that go beyond the court. For instance, I will chair the appellate rules committee and sit on the civil rules committee. I’ll be involved with the court services committee.

CP: You are currently the deputy chief judge. Can you tell me about that position and how long it has existed?

Román: The deputy chief judge position is completely at the discretion of the chief judge. It’s really a newer position. To my knowledge, for decades there was no deputy chief. Former Chief Judge [Janice B.] Davidson selected a deputy, and Alan Loeb did behind her. Then Chief Judge Steve Bernard expanded the role and had me more involved in some of the policymaking, serving as a sounding board.

CP: Will you continue to have that position in place, and if so, will that person do anything differently than what you are doing?

Román: I am going to continue that position. I selected Judge Rebecca Freyre to serve as my deputy, and she will have the same kinds of responsibilities that I have.

CP: Will there be a term for the deputy chief similar to the four-year term that the new chief judge has?

Román: Yes, in the sense that whoever is the next chief will select his or her deputy chief. But I plan to have Judge Freyre as my deputy during my term.

CP: You’ve been on the Court of Appeals for a decade and a half now. Can you describe some of the big changes that you can recall?

Román: The biggest one that comes to mind is the courthouse itself. When I first came to the court there were only 16 of us. Now there are 22. And the older building was small, cramped and we had outgrown it. We went over to The Denver Post building for a few years because they were building on the same spot. So, when we returned, we got the Ralph Carr Courthouse, which is an amazing, beautiful courthouse. Judges come in from all over the country and they tour it.

CP: You mentioned the increase in the size of the court. After 2024, Colorado will have a 23rd Judicial District covering Douglas, Elbert and Lincoln counties, and I believe you will also have a 23rd member of the Court of Appeals. Will this be a major development?

Román: Well, we will still have 22 members of the court. We are participating, in 2023, in a weighted caseload study. They use that to determine the need [for more judges]. What they’ve done in the past is bring in three new judges and staff all at once.

But we don’t know until we see what the study shows. Everybody on the court tracks their time, then a report is presented to the General Assembly with a recommendation for whether to create new judges.

CP: So, what you’re saying is that in 2025, we could have 23 judicial districts in Colorado, but still have 22 members or potentially 25 members of the Court of Appeals.

Román: Based on how it’s done in the past, that’s right. We are a docket-heavy court. We have at least 1,600 or 1,700 opinions per year. Every judge on the court is writing about 65 to 75 opinions per year.

It’s important to remember that we sit on panels of three, so we’re also responsible for reading the cases our panel colleagues are involved in, plus reading the relevant record and caselaw. So, on average, every judge has around 200 opinions per year at the Court of Appeals that they’re involved with.

CP: Has that gone up during your time there?

Román: It’s gone down, actually. When I started, it was closer to 90 opinions per judge.

CP: With that kind of volume, I’m curious how you train yourself as an appellate judge to avoid treating the job like an assembly line where you input a set of facts, look at it through the law, write your conclusion and move on. That seems to risk the possibility of forgetting that each of these cases is very important to the people involved and there are folks whose lives, liberty and property are on the line. How do you not lose sight of the human element involved?

Román: The human element is critical. Our court would go to the state penitentiary and tour it every year prior to the pandemic. My takeaway was to remember that every decision we make is important to somebody so we can’t treat them like an assembly line.

CP: Are you seeing more types of particular cases in 2021 than you encountered when you first got on the court?

Román: Dependency and neglect [child welfare] cases have gone way up. A better organized bar for parents is one of the leading factors. There’s more of a focus from the General Assembly on paying attention to that area, and compensating attorneys more who practice in that area, which affects their willingness to participate. All of that has led to a groundswell of dependency and neglect cases.

While there are multiple reasons for this increase over time, the biggest reason is probably the creation of the Office of Respondent Parents’ Counsel [which represents indigent parents].

It’s not an easy area of law. We’re lucky enough to have a staff attorney who specializes in dependency and neglect cases. We make the decisions, but they do first drafts of opinions.

That goes to one of the earlier questions about how we can put out as many opinions as we do in a year. The truth is, we’re very lucky to have an extremely talented staff attorney group that drafts first opinions in their areas, and talented law clerks.

CP: Most people are familiar probably with the Supreme Court’s style of people showing up to argue cases and take questions from the justices. That is some of what the Court of Appeals does, but a lot of cases get decided on the briefs, meaning the written arguments about the case are the deciding factor. Is there a rule of thumb for which cases get argued in person? Do you think it matters to the outcome whether you have an oral argument in a case or not?

Román: The decision is the attorneys’ for whether or not to have oral argument. Most of the attorneys have not asked for oral argument. For the second part of the question, I would say that most cases are decided on the briefs, however, there are always cases that are decided at oral argument. That’s what makes it such an important part of what we do and why I encourage attorneys to request it.

We [the judges] do request oral argument. We’ll also request the time for oral arguments be expanded and we’ll send out pre-argument questions on some of the more complex cases where we’re concerned about something in particular. It’s to let the attorneys know we’re interested in these issues, so when you come to oral argument, please be prepared. Or maybe it’s an area where we felt the briefing could have been a little stronger because they have word limits. Maybe they spent less time on that part of the briefing, but when we read it, we were interested in the part where they didn’t spend as much time.

CP: There are two types of appellate opinions: published and unpublished. Published opinions have value as precedent, while unpublished ones only bind the parties in the immediate case. It’s my understanding that published opinions are called that because they would, at one point, go into a physical printed book as caselaw for lawyers and judges to look at. But in the year 2021 where virtually everything is online, do you think it’s time to do away with the concept of unpublished opinions?

Román: That’s an issue that comes up in front of my court from time to time. We have not reached that decision yet, but we’re fully cognizant of the issue.

The strongest argument for making a change is that it’s coming, it’s inevitable. Other courts across the country are doing it. Even the non-published opinions are out there in some form right now, and someday they’ll just be accessible.

The argument in the other direction is we value the precedential value of the published opinions. As I mentioned, each judge has 200 opinions that go out per year with his or her name on them. Many of our colleagues will have to make adjustments if they believe that everything has to have the same level of what’s required for the published opinions, which means length, procedural history and background of the case.

Also, the full court has to become involved because there is a rule that requires a vote on any case that is up for publication. A majority of the court has to approve that. For published cases, we have to go through the additional step of reviewing our colleagues’ proposed opinions, commenting on them and voting on whether or not to publish.

If the future is that’s what’s required of all cases — remember, there are 1,600 to 1,700 opinions per year — the argument is that would take a great deal.

CP: Is there a middle ground that unpublished opinions still exist in concept, but they go into a database where anyone can look up how a case was decided, use it for research or just have it as another accountability tool for the judiciary?

Román: I surely see that as a possibility. I do know that some of the specialty bars are already collecting the opinions that come out every Thursday and creating their own files for members to look at.

For access to justice, that’s not true for every attorney, for every practice.

It’s a little complicated because technology is also a key factor. I’m not sure we’ve always had the technological capabilities. When we reach that point, the judges on the Court of Appeals would make that decision unless the Supreme Court were to make it for us.

CP: Are there certain initiatives you imagine you’ll want to undertake as chief judge?

Román: Sure. My initiatives would include reducing the delays and the backlog that we have in child welfare appeals and criminal appeals. I formed a retreat committee, and in February, we’ll have a daylong retreat with a subcommittee of judges that are focused on reducing the backlog.

Succession planning is an issue. Our productivity and our written product is what we’re hired to do and getting opinions out. We have some major leadership retirements in 2024: our clerk of the court, our court executive, deputy clerk and chief staff attorney have all announced that they’re leaving close together. That involves our ability to get the opinions out once they’re written.

The culture of the court is very important to me. I want to have employees who are proud to be here and have a healthy work-life balance.

I’m also interested in public outreach. I want our relationship with the community to be even stronger. It was strong prior to the pandemic. Each judge is assigned as a liaison to one of the 22 judicial districts. They go out as a liaison to meet with the local bar associations, judicial officers, the community. We give presentations to the high schools, give a Goldilocks presentation in the elementary schools. We’re working on a program to be able to get into the middle school.

CP: What is the Goldilocks presentation?

Román: When I first came to the court 16 years ago, about two years in there was a bring your daughter/child to work day and they were looking for ideas. I had heard that folks were doing a Goldilocks mock trial for the younger kids.

I wrote up a script where they put Goldilocks on trial for trespassing and theft. That caught on and it’s been a feature of the Court of Appeals. We have presented that in Trinidad, Steamboat Springs, Glenwood Springs — you can name a district and we’ve been there and presented.

CP: Is it more common for Goldilocks to be acquitted or convicted?

Román: You know, it’s very common to have a hung jury. But I would say she’s acquitted about as often as she is convicted.

CP: Finally, not every state has an equivalent of the Court of Appeals, but have you seen any practices in other states that have piqued your interest?

Román: I know that there is a court of appeals that sends out a pre-disposition opinion to the parties ahead of oral arguments so that [lawyers] can look at what the division on that court is thinking of doing with the opinion so they can prepare their presentations around where the court has revealed its leaning. That’s kind of intriguing. (Editor’s note: Those documents are called “focus letters” or “tentative opinions” and exist in the California Court of Appeal system.)

There are other courts that have polled their state appellate bar associations and asked them for feedback on how they think they’re doing at the court of appeals. I, for one, would be interested in what our bar association thinks of the work we’re doing.



February 02, 2022

West Virginia Governor Announces First Appointees to New Intermediate Court of Appeals

West Virginia Governor Jim Justice appointed Thomas E. Scarr of Huntington, Daniel W. Greear of Charleston, and Donald A. Nickerson, Jr. of Wheeling to staggered terms on the newly-created West Virginia Intermediate Court of Appeals on December 28, 2021. Mr. Scarr’s term will run two and one-half years, Mr. Greear’s term will run four and one-half years, and Mr. Nickerson’s terms will run six and one-half years.

Governor Justice described the appointments as “an incredible step for our state that reflects the values of West Virginians and continues to make West Virginia more and more business-friendly,” noting that he has “always tried to champion judicial reform in West Virginia.”

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, West Virginia Chamber of Commerce, and other business leaders have issued statements congratulating the appointees and thanking Governor Justice, the West Virginia Legislature, and the outgoing West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals Chief Justice, Evan Jenkins, for, in the words of the U.S. Chamber’s Institute for Legal Reform, taking the state “one step closer to having a court that will help bring additional balance and fairness to its legal environment.”

The incoming Supreme Court of Appeals Chief Justice, John Hutchison, said in a statement that “[he] look[s] forward to working closely with each of the new judges as we set up the operations of West Virginia’s first Intermediate Court of Appeals.”

The West Virginia Senate must confirm the three newly appointed judges. Once the confirmation process is complete, the judges will assume their duties by July 1, 2022.

February 02, 2022

Legislation to Create New Florida Appellate District




The legislation  follows a November recommendation from the Florida Supreme Court to add the 6th District Court of Appeals.

It  would create the 6th DCA headquartered in Pinellas County. It would be composed of Florida’s 6th, 12th and 13th Judicial circuits. The decision also would realign and change the number of appellate judges in each of the other five districts. If the legislation is passed, it will be the first time Florida added a new DCA since 1979.

The 6th DCA would be headquartered in Pinellas County. The bill was created in a response to a 6-1 Florida Supreme Court recommendation to add the new DCA in November. The court agreed with the recommendation from the District Court of Appeal Workload and Jurisdiction Assessment Committee — formed by Chief Justice Charles Canady — that adding a new DCA would boost citizen trust in the judicial system.

“We agree with the committee’s conclusion that public trust and confidence will be enhanced by the creation of a sixth district court,” the justices wrote.

Michael Orr, a member of the assessment committee and the Florida Bar Board of Governors, spoke in support of the addition of the 6th DCA at Thursday’s meeting. He said that growth in the number of appeals cases (9,500 in 1979 to more than 20,000 today) and the lengthening of the appeals process make adding another DCA necessary to build public trust.

“The cases have changed. Now you have years and years of discovery,” he said. “It’s almost like comparing apples to oranges from years past.”

Rep. Tommy Gregory, who also is a lawyer, agreed with the Florida Supreme Court and the Assessment Committee’s reasoning. He said it could reduce court times, making Florida residents engaged in the appeals process happier.

“If you add more judges, the public trust and confidence in the system grows because we can move cases more efficiently,” Gregory said. “It’s our one place in government where adding more makes the trust grow. It’s not like we are adding new senators or representatives.”

The addition of the new DCA would come with millions in expenses. The cost of adding the new judges would be $4.3 million, according to the bill’s cost analysis summary. An analysis of how much a temporary and permanent home for the 6th DCA would cost has not been conducted.

If the bill is passed, here are the changes that would come to each DCA:

— 1st DCA: It would lose the 4th Circuit, instead consisting of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 8th and 14th Circuits. Its appellate judge count would also drop from 15 to 13.

— 2nd DCA: It would lose the 6th, 12th and 13th Circuits and gain the 9th. That means it would consist of the 9th, 10th, and 20th Circuits. Its appellate judge count would drop from 16 to 9.

— 3rd DCA: Unchanged

— 4th DCA: Unchanged

— 5th DCA: It would lose the 9th Circuit but gain the 4th Circuit. Its appellate judge count would increase from 11 to 12.

— 6th DCA: The newly formed DCA would consist of the 6th, 12th, and 13th Circuits. It would have 15 appellate judge

Read More:

Committee bill adding 6th District Court of Appeal passes first committee



December 23, 2021

Judge Jessica Lorello New Chief Judge Idaho Court of Appeals

Judge Jessica Lorello, who currently sits on the Idaho Court of Appeals, has been appointed by the state Supreme Court to serve as Chief Judge for the next two years, succeeding current Chief Judge Molly Huskey.   The Court of Appeals, Idaho’s second-highest court, hears appeals assigned to it by the Supreme Court; its four judges sit in three-judge panels to hear cases.

Judge Lorello has served on the Court of Appeals since 2017 when she was appointed by former Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter. Previously, she worked as an attorney in private practice and at the Idaho Attorney General’s Office. Judge Lorello serves on the Idaho Law Foundation’s Law Related Education Committee, is a founding and current member of Attorneys for Civic Education, and is active in a number of civic education programs, while also teaching as an adjunct professor at the University of Idaho College of Law.

Read more:


December 23, 2021

Names Considered For West Virginia’s New Intermediate Court of Appeals

Gov. Jim Justice’s Judicial Vacancy Advisory Commission has forwarded the names of 8 candidates to the Governor  for possible appointment to the state’s new Intermediate Court of Appeals.   The commission interviewed 23 candidates and submitted eight names to the Governor for consideration.   Three positions will be filled by the Governor – one each for a 2.5 year term, a 4.5 year term and a 6.5 year term.  Elections will be held on a staggered basis when the initial terms are completed.

Senate Bill 275, passed by the West Virginia Legislature during the 2021 session, created a three-judge intermediate appeals court between the circuit courts and the Supreme Court. The new court will begin July 1, 2022.

The new court will hear noncriminal appeals of circuit court cases, family court cases and guardianships and conservatorships, appeals of administrative law judge decisions and final orders and decisions by the state Health Care Authority.

The intermediate court also replaces the Workers’ Compensation Office of Administrative Judges with a Workers’ Compensation Board of Review, from where decisions can be appealed to the intermediate court.

Read more:







December 23, 2021

Former Tennessee Chief Judge William McBrayer Finalist for Tennessee Supreme Court

The Governor’s Council for Judicial Appointments on Thursday nominated two Tennessee appellate judges and the state’s associate solicitor general for consideration to fill an open seat on the Tennessee Supreme Court.

Tennessee Court of Appeals Judge Kristi Davis, Associate Solicitor General Sarah Campbell and Court of Appeals Judge William Neal McBrayer were nominated after a two-day interview process among nine applicants.

The council will submit the slate to Gov. Bill Lee, who will select his appointment. Lee’s pick will face a General Assembly confirmation vote under a 2014 constitutional amendment requiring legislative approval.

Justices then face retention elections every eight years.

Campbell and Davis were selected as nominees during the council’s first round of voting, while two additional voting rounds winnowed down the list to McBrayer.

Read more:


November 24, 2021

Elizabeth L. Gleicher Appointed Chief Judge of the Michigan Court of Appeals

Judge Elizabeth L. Gleicher has been appointed chief judge of the Michigan Court of Appeals for a two-year period starting Jan. 1, 2022.

Gleicher was born in Detroit, Michigan. Her father, Morris Gleicher (1917–1992), was a former president of the Michigan ACLU. She received her bachelor’s degree in history from Carleton College in 1976 and her Juris Doctor degree from Wayne State University law school in 1979.  She began her legal career at Goodman, Eden, Millender & Bedrosian in Detroit, and was an attorney in private practice for 27 years.  She received the Respected Advocate Award from the Michigan Defense Trial Counsel in 2005 and the State Bar of Michigan Champion of Justice Award in 2001.

She was appointed to the Michigan Court of Appeals, Second District, in 2007. Her husband, Mark Granzotto, is an appellate lawyer. The couple have three sons.

November 24, 2021

California’s Longest Serving Presiding Appellate Justice Retires After 42 years on Bench

Justice Kline graduated from Johns Hopkins with honors. He attended graduate school at Cornell as an Alfred P. Sloan Fellow. At Yale Law School he received the Gherini and Sutherland Cup prizes.

After graduation from law school, Justice Kline served as law clerk to Justice Raymond E. Peters of the California Supreme Court. Thereafter he was for four years an attorney in New York with the Wall Street firm of Davis Polk and Wardwell. In 1971, after returning to California, he served as a Legal Services Lawyer and was one of the founders of Public Advocates, Inc., the first non-profit public interest law firm in the west. He was Managing Attorney of Public Advocates when, in January 1975, he was appointed Legal Affairs Secretary to Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr.

As Legal Affairs Secretary, Justice Kline served on the Governor’s cabinet for six years, until he was appointed to the San Francisco Superior Court in September 1980. He was appointed Presiding Justice of Division Two of  the Court of Appeal in December 1982.

In 42 years on the bench, J. Anthony Kline, California’s senior appellate justice, has issued a ruling overhauling the state’s cash bail system.

He wrote another historic opinion, a dissenting opinion, that would have legalized same-sex marriage. While his dissenting opinion had no legal effect, Kline’s view of the law took effect six years later after a state Supreme Court ruling, a reversal by the voters and a turnabout by the U.S. Supreme Court.

November 24, 2021

Retired Chief Judge Linda McGee Receives Distinguished Service Award


Retired N.C. Court of Appeals Chief Judge Linda McGee received the John B. McMillan Distinguished Service Award during the fall meeting of the N.C. State Bar Council in Raleigh for exemplary service to the legal profession.

The award was presented during the State Bar Councilor’s Dinner attended by councilors from across the state.

McGee received her undergraduate and law degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She served as the first executive director of the N.C. Academy of Trial Lawyers (now N.C. Advocates for Justice) from 1973 to 1978. She practiced law in Boone for more than 17 years in the law firm of Di Santi, Watson & McGee

She was appointed to the N.C. Court of Appeals in 1995 by Gov. Jim Hunt. She ran three statewide races and was elected in 1996 to an eight-year term and re-elected in 2004 and 2012.   In 2014, she was named chief judge of the Court of Appeals.  McGee is the longest-serving judge in the history of the Court of Appeals, having served 26 years, until her retirement at the end of 2020.

October 18, 2021

Judge Gilbert Román First Latino Chief Judge of Colorado Court of Appeals

Chief Justice Brian D. Boatright of the Colorado Supreme Court announced on Friday that he has selected  Judge Gilbert M. Román  to lead the state’s 22-member intermediate appellate court.

A 2005 appointee of Gov. Bill Owens, Román is one of the longest-serving members of the appellate court. He is a 1987 graduate of the University of Michigan Law School and worked for several corporate law firms focusing on complex civil litigation prior to his appointment.

“I am deeply honored and humbled by the trust placed in me by the Chief Justice and the judges and staff of the Court of Appeals to serve as administrative leader of such a talented and dedicated group of jurists and employees,” Román said in a written statement.

In 2016, 74% of voters chose to retain him on the Court of Appeals. The citizen-led performance commission that year found attorneys ranked him highly for his fairness, impartiality and courtesy.

The Court of Appeals handles approximately 2,500 cases annually. Litigants may appeal its decisions to the state Supreme Court.

September 10, 2021

Sirena Kestner Selected as Council of Chief Judges Association Manager

Sirena Kestner, an experienced court professional with 17 years’ experience including more than 10 years in court management, is the Council’s new Association Manager

Sirena started her career at the Supreme Court of Virginia Clerk’s Office, where she held the roles of Bookkeeper, Docket & Opinions Clerk, Legal Assistant and ultimately as a managing Deputy Clerk.  In 2016, Sirena was selected as the Clerk of Court for New Kent County General District Court.  As Clerk of Court she was the Chief Administrator of the Court, responsible for the management and application of court resources.  She had authority over all financial performance, staffing, budget development, efficient case load processing and public relations.

She has been involved in numerous professional organizations, including National Association for Court Management (NACM), Mid-Atlantic Association for Court Management (MAACM), National Association for Appellate Court Clerks (NCACC), and the Association of Clerks of the District Courts of Virginia.  Additionally, Sirena spent several years volunteering as the Southeast Regional Conference Coordinator for Alpha Phi Fraternity and was the Co-Host of the 2014 NCACC Conference in Richmond, Virginia.

Sirena is a graduate of Christopher Newport University where she received a bachelor’s degree in Government Administration with a concentration in Legal Studies.

Sirena resides in Virginia with her husband  and their daughter.

Sirena replaces Janet Reid who was promoted to serve as the National Center’s director of development. Sydney Rohnow, the Council’s former administrative specialist, was promoted to association manager for two other associations, AJA (American Judges Association) and NCPJ (National College of Probate Judges). We wish them all the best in their new positions.

September 01, 2021

Kate Morgan Sworn in as New Kentucky Court of Appeals Clerk

Kate Morgan has returned to the Kentucky Court of Appeals as its new clerk after having served as a staff attorney for Court of Appeals Judge Glenn E. Acree from 2010-2018. Morgan was sworn in today via Zoom by Court of Appeals Chief Judge Denise G. Clayton.

“The Court of Appeals is pleased to welcome Kate back,” Chief Judge Clayton said. “She has dedicated her career to public service and has a deep understanding of Kentucky’s appellate rules of practice and procedure. We are fortunate to have her as our new clerk.”

Morgan comes back to the court from the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, where she was a regional staff attorney prosecuting termination of parental rights cases and helping children in the foster care system get permanent homes. She successfully defended the agency in appellate cases before the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court of Kentucky.

The appellate clerk is appointed by the court and responsible for the custody, control and storage of all appellate records. Morgan succeeds Court of Appeals Clerk Rebecca Combs Lyon, who retired Aug. 1 after more than 30 years of service to the Judicial Branch.

“I am humbled to have been chosen for this position,” Morgan said. “I look forward to serving the court and the public with dignity and respect and will endeavor to continue the excellent service provided by Becky Lyon to the citizens of this commonwealth. It is an honor to have the trust and confidence placed in me by the judges of this court.”

Morgan graduated summa cum laude from the Northern Kentucky University Salmon P. Chase College of Law in 2009. She was ranked third in her law school class and served as editor-in-chief of the Northern Kentucky Law Review. As a member of the inaugural Chase Arbitration Team, she won the regional championship and earned a bid to the national arbitration competition.

She resides in Frankfort with her husband, Aaron, and their two children.



September 01, 2021

Six New Appellate Judges Elected by the Virginia Legislature

Virginia is different.  The judges on the Virginia Court of Appeals are elected by the Legislature

Legislation passed earlier this year took the court from 11 to 17 judges as part of a major expansion of the right to appeal.   Until the law was passed, Virginia did not guarantee appeals from trial courts. Litigants could request a petition to the Supreme Court of Virginia, mostly for civil cases, or the Court of Appeals, mostly for criminal cases.   When the Court of Appeals was created in the 1980s, it was given only limited jurisdiction. Previously, it could only hear criminal appeals, administrative appeals and appeals from juvenile and domestic relations court.

With the new law, it’ll bring new classes of cases — things like automobile, business and property cases.

Most justices will start their eight-year terms Sept. 1   Both the House and Senate committees found all of the candidates put forward by Democrats qualified with little dissension early Tuesday morning, sending them to the chambers for votes.

The two bodies voted later in the day to approve the slate of judges. Republicans had pushed back last week, saying the process wasn’t transparent enough.

The candidates Democrats put forward were vetted by the Virginia State Bar and several other professional organizations and were announced publicly Monday. Democrats had held closed door group meetings with candidates before the open interviews Tuesday, Republicans charged.

“Are we going to have an interview process or is it just going to be a list that we certify?” said Republican Sen. Bill Stanley during floor debate last week. “How are we going to be able to gain the information that they have already had?”

Democrats have responded that this has always been the process, that the party in control of the chambers proposes a shortlist from the vetted applications.

“I don’t see where what has happened with the Court of Appeals is any different in reality than what’s been going on probably for the last 100 years,” said Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw.


Virginia lawmakers elect 8 new judges to appeals court | WTOP

Virginia House and Senate Reach Agreement on Historic Court of Appeals Nominees – Virginia House Democrats (


September 01, 2021

West Virginia Supreme Court Working on Intermediate Court

Following the passage of authorizing legislation, the West Virginia Supreme Court is working on  establishing an Intermediate Court of Appeals in West Virginia with less than a year before the court is set to begin hearing cases.

The court will consist of three judges and be responsible for reviewing civil cases as well as matters related to worker’s compensation and family court decisions. The Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia is determining how the court will function and day-to-day work.

Chief Justice Evan Jenkins said that judicial officials are reviewing how intermediate courts operate in other states; West Virginia will become the 42nd state to have such court when it begins work next July.

“We have the opportunity to learn some of the best practices from other states, but also how to avoid some pitfalls,” he said.

According to Jenkins, officials are reviewing several issues related to the court including personnel policies and where the court will operate.

“Will this be primarily situated in Charleston? How can we use the new technologies that have been really invested in over the past year and a half with COVID? How can we make sure this court is accessible and easy to interact with?” he said. “Because it will have statewide jurisdiction, and we want to make sure that people from the panhandles and any part of West Virginia can interact with the Intermediate Court of Appeals efficiently.”

Jenkins said justices are also identifying areas of the law that need improvements to ensure to new court can properly operate.

The governor will appoint the first judges to the new court. West Virginia voters will select judges in the 2024, 2026 and 2028 elections, in which each winner will serve a 10-year term.


July 23, 2021

William Brash II Newly Appointed Chief Judge of Wisconsin Court of Appeals

Judge William Brash III has been appointed  chief judge of the Wisconsin Court of Appeals.   He will succeed Lisa Neubauer whose term as Chief Judge ends July 31.

Judge Brash was appointed to the court of appeal in 2015 following service on the Milwaukee County trial courts since 2001.  Brash was a private practitioner before his appointment to the bench.   He is a graduate of Marquette University Law School and St. Norbert College in Wisconsin.

The appointment of Chief Judge is made by the Wisconsin Supreme Court.  Judge Neubauer served two terms as Chief Judge.  Nonetheless, the appointment of Judge Brash was not without controversy.   Three justices on the court thought she deserved another term.  The justices wrote that they “do not intend to cast a pall over the beginning of Judge Brash’s tenure as Chief Judge.  He has provided many years of service both on the circuit court and the court of appeals and we are confident that the court of appeals will be in good hands.  Nevertheless, we express our concern regarding the timing and lack of process employed by a majority of this court in the appointment process.”

July 23, 2021

Brian M. Rickman Elected Chief Judge Georgia Court of Appeals

Brian Rickman, who has served on the Georgia Court of Appeals since 2016, has been elected by his peers to serve a two year term as Chief Judge beginning July 1.

Judge Rickman began his legal career as an Assistant District Attorney following graduation from the University of Georgia School of Law in 2001.   In 2004 he became a partner in a small law firm before being appointed by Governor Sonny Perdue to be the District Attorney for the Mountain Judicial Circuit in 2008.

Outgoing Chief Judge Christopher J. McFadden said, “I look forward to Vice Chief Judge Rickman’s able leadership during the next two years, as the court continues to serve all citizens of Georgia.”

“I am honored that my colleagues at the Court of Appeals have elected me to serve as Chief Judge. I did not expect to serve in this role so soon after I came to the bench, but the court has undergone tremendous turnover since I have been here,” Rickman said. “Chief Judge Christopher J. McFadden steered us through a historic move, followed almost immediately by the pandemic that required us to drastically alter our way of doing business, and I appreciate his dedication to the court.”

Read more:


July 01, 2021

Missouri Chief Judge Kathryn Hoff to Retire in August



Judge Mary Kathryn Hoff, the current chief judge of the Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District, announced she will retire effective August 2, 2021. Hoff was appointed to the court in 1995 by the late Governor Mel Carnahan and has served the Eastern District for more than 25 years. She previously served as chief judge from July 2000 through June 2001. To succeed Hoff as chief judge, the Eastern District judges unanimously elected Judge Sherri Sullivan for a term beginning July 1, 2021. Like Hoff, Sullivan’s election marks the second time she has served as chief judge, her prior term being from July 2003 through June 2004. The chief judge is the chief administrative officer of the court, presides at court en banc meetings and represents the court to the public.

As both women reflected on these changes, they noted their intertwined lives. Both grew up in large families in St. Louis, attending Catholic grade schools and all-female high schools. Both graduated from Saint Louis University Law School. While Hoff worked as a public defender, Sullivan worked in the circuit attorney’s office, and they tried criminal cases against each other. In 1989, then- John Ashcroft appointed Hoff as a circuit judge and Sullivan as an associate circuit judge in the 22nd Judicial Circuit (St. Louis city).  The late Governor Mel Carnahan appointed both women to the appellate bench – Hoff in 1995 and Sullivan in 1999.

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July 01, 2021

Chief Judge James Lockemy announces Retirement


According to a media advisory, James Lockemy, chief judge of the South Carolina Court of Appeals will retire at the end of the calendar year.   Lockemy graduated from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke and the University of South Carolina law school.   He served as a Legislative Assistant to U.S. Senator Strom Thurmond and as legal counsel to a subcommittee on the Senate Judiciary Committee, after which he practiced law before being elected  to the House of Representatives in 1982.  He was elected a Circuit Judge in 1989 and served for 18 years until elected to the Court of Appeals in 2008. He was elected as chief judge in May 2016. He is only the fifth chief judge of the South Carolina Court of Appeals.

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July 01, 2021

Gary Lynch Elected Chief Judge of Missouri Court of Appeals, Southern District


Former chief judge  Gary W. Lynch has been elected by the Missouri Court of Appeals, Southern District, as its new chief judge beginning July 1, 2021. His new term as chief judge follows that of Judge Jeffrey W. Bates, who remains a judge of the court.

The chief judge is the administrative officer of the court and presides at all sessions, conferences, hearings, and meetings of the court en banc (with all seven members). The Southern District of the Missouri Court of Appeals hears all appeals from the circuit courts of the southern 44 counties in the state, except those appeals reserved exclusively to the Supreme Court of Missouri, and has courtrooms located in Springfield and Poplar Bluff.

Lynch previously served as the southern district’s chief judge from July 2007 through June 2009. He was appointed to the appeals court in January 2006 after serving four years as an associate circuit judge in Polk County (in the 30th Judicial Circuit) and practicing law for 25 years in Bolivar. Lynch is a member and past president of the Council of Chief Judges of the State Courts of Appeal, a national organization dedicated to the administration of justice in the nation’s intermediate appellate courts and the continuing education of its chief judges. He previously served six years on the National Center for State Courts board of directors. Lynch also is chair of the Missouri Court Automation Committee, a statutory committee that oversees the state’s court technology systems. He earned his bachelor’s degree in mathematics and elementary education from Southwest Baptist University and his law degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

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June 17, 2021

Former Chief Judge Joy Kramer To Retire From KY Court of Appeals

Judge Joy A. Kramer has announced she will retire from the Kentucky Court of Appeals on September 1 after serving 15 years.  Kramer was first elected in 2006 to serve the 21 counties in Division 2 of the 6th Appellate District, which covers Northern Kentucky. She was re-elected in 2014.

“It has truly been an honor to serve on the Court of Appeals,” Judge Kramer said. “During my time on the court, I have diligently worked to apply the law fairly to all parties. I want to thank the citizens of the 6th Appellate District and my supporters for putting their trust in me to do so. It was a tremendous responsibility and I took it seriously every day and in every respect.

“I am grateful for my time on the court and the judges I have served with,” she said. “I especially want to thank my outstanding staff for their diligent work throughout the years. It takes a team to render timely decisions and run an efficient office, using tax payer dollars wisely.”

On July 1, 2016, Judge Kramer was elected by her fellow Court of Appeals judges to the position of Chief Judge for a two-year term. The chief judge provides administrative oversight to the Court of Appeals. Judge Kramer served as the chief judge pro tem from July 2012 to July 2016.

Prior to her election to the Court of Appeals, she served six years as chief law clerk for William O. Bertelsman, senior judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky. She has served as a staff attorney to Kentucky Court of Appeals Judges Daniel T. Guidugli and Robert W. Dyche III. As a practitioner, Kramer worked with Adams, Stepner, Woltermann & Dusing PLLC in Covington and also practiced general litigation law with Hoffman, Hoffman & Grubbs in Elsmere.

She has 29 years of public service. She was a special education teacher before attending law school.

Kramer graduated magna cum laude from Morehead State University, where she also earned a master’s degree and a Rank I teaching certificate. After teaching special education for seven years in Grant and Pendleton county schools, She earned her juris doctor from the Northern Kentucky University Salmon P. Chase College of Law. She graduated magna cum laude and was a member of the Northern Kentucky Law Review. She received numerous scholarships and awards for academic achievement, including the Chase Excellence Scholarship. In 2016, Kramer was awarded the Chase Alumni Association’s Distinguished Service Award.

Judge Kramer has served as a special justice to the Kentucky Supreme Court. She is a member of the Kentucky Bar Association, the Northern Kentucky Bar Association and the Salmon P. Chase Inn of Court,

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June 17, 2021

Former Indiana Chief Judge Nancy Vaidik Recovering From Serious Injury.

Judge Vaidik was seriously injured the morning of June 6 when she was hit by a falling tree branch while riding her bike near the Indiana Dunes State Park. She was airlifted from the scene to a hospital in Chicago for treatment.

Speaking on behalf of the entire court Current Chief Judge Cale Bradford, who succeeded Vaidik following her two terms as Chief Judge,  wished Judge Vaidik a speedy recovery.

“Having worked alongside Nancy for almost 14 years, it was difficult to process the news about the injuries that befell my wonderful colleague and dear friend,” Bradford said in the statement. “I spoke with Nancy briefly yesterday and conveyed that her colleagues on the Court of Appeals extend our thoughts and best wishes for a full and speedy recovery. I am sure the entire Indiana legal community joins us in those sentiments.”

“Nancy is a talented and valued member of our court,” Bradford said, “and we look forward to the day when she is back among us doing what she does so well.



March 30, 2021

Retirement of Indiana Court of Appeals Judge James Kirsch

Veteran Indiana Court of Appeals Judge James Kirsch retired, capping a quarter-century on the state’s appellate court bench. Kirsch said in a statement he will continue to serve as a senior judge.

Before his appointment to the Court of Appeals by Gov. Evan Bayh in 1994, Kirsch served as a judge on the Marion Superior bench for six years. Prior to that, he practiced commercial and business law at Kroger Gardis & Regas in Indianapolis, where he also served as managing partner.

Kirsch served as chief judge of the Court of Appeals from March 2004 through February 2007.

According to his COA biography, Kirsch has been the visiting professor of law and management at the Krannert Graduate School of Management at Purdue University since 1990. The Indianapolis native graduated from Butler University in 1968 and Indiana University School of Law in Indianapolis in 1974.

Kirsch is a past president of the Indianapolis Bar Association and the Indianapolis Bar Foundation and is a former member of the board of visitors of the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law. He also has taught law in 30 countries on five continents and holds concurrent faculty appointments at the University of Tilburg in the Netherlands and Central European University in Budapest, Hungary.

Kirsch and his wife, Jan, have two children, Adam and Alexandra.




March 30, 2021

Gene Thibodeaux Chief Judge of Louisiana’s Third Circuit Court of Appeal Retires

Gene Thibodeaux Chief Judge of Louisiana’s Third Circuit Court of Appeal Retires

Ulysses Gene Thibodeaux, a graduate of Dartmouth College and Tulane Law School, where he was an Earl Warren Scholar.   He practiced law for seventeen years in New York City and Lake Charles before his election to the Third Circuit in 1992.   He is the past President of the Council of Chief Judges and among his other leadership positions, he served on the Task Force on Judicial Independence, which he co-chaired, the Louisiana Supreme Court Task Force on Racial and Ethnic Fairness in the Courts.   He has been active in the charter schools movement and  is the 2012 recipient of the Board Member of the Year Award from Charter Schools USA, an education service provider based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida; the 2016 Education All Star Award from Stand for Children; the 2016 Difference Maker Award for being a leader in education reform; the 2013 Celebration of Children Award for his efforts to improve educational equality for children; the 2010 recipient of the Judge A. Leon Higginbotham Award for Judicial Excellence from the National Bar Association; the 2009 recipient of the Thurgood Marshall Award from the National Bar Association for serving as an exemplary role model for judges and lawyers; and, the recipient of the Louisiana State Bar Association’s President Award in 2009.

As recently as the 1980′s it was rare for minority judges to be elected in Louisiana, but then attorney Gene Thibodeaux helped change that.  “In 1988 there were only six black judges in the state of Louisiana, four of whom were from New Orleans, two outside New Orleans. So, a class action suit was filed disputing the manner in which judges were elected, that is, disputing the at large election system. The court ruled in our favor and as a result of that the legislature created sub-districts within the courts of appeal.”

Thibodeaux is pleased to have been part of the legal team to bring about long awaited change.

He left the  Third Circuit only because in Louisiana judges cannot run for re-election after age 70.  He will return to the practice of law on a selective basis.

Thibodeaux was elected without opposition to the Third Circuit in 1992 and became chief in 2004. He says his most significant achievement may be helping to bring technological advances to the court.  District Court Judge Sharon Wilson was elected to fill Judge Thibodeaux’s seat on the Third Circuit.









March 30, 2021

Chief Judge Linda McGee Retires From North Carolina Court of Appeals

Chief Judge Linda M. McGee  has retired from the North Carolina Court of Appeals, effective.  She had a long and distinguished career and was honored for her service by Governor Roy Cooper with the Order of the Long Leaf Pine.  This high honor was presented by Attorney General Josh Stein at a  retirement luncheon in Raleigh.

Chief Judge McGee was appointed to the Court of Appeals in 1995 by Governor Jim Hunt.  She is the longest serving judge of the Court of Appeals in state history, having served almost 26 years in that role.  She was elected to an eight-year term in 1996 and was re-elected in 2004 and 2012.

In August 2014, she was named Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals where she led the court, oversaw its administration, served on the State Judicial Council, and served as vice chair of the Chief Justice’s Commission on Professionalism.  Beginning in 2016, Chief Judge McGee chaired the Celebrate NC Courts Committee, which was responsible for planning and executing the anniversary celebrations for each level of North Carolina’s court system, that included promoting the Judicial Branch Speakers Bureau and leading the 50th Anniversary of the Court of Appeals in 2017.  In October 2019, Chief Justice Cheri Beasley presented her with the Friend of the Court Award for this leadership role.

Chief Judge McGee and her husband Gary McGee have been residents of Corolla for more than 16 years.  They are the parents of two adult sons, Scott, a lawyer in South Carolina, and Jeffrey, Assistant Operations Manager at Joe Lamb, Jr. & Associates in Kill Devil Hills.  Judge McGee was a partner in the Boone law firm of di Santi, Watson and McGee for 17 years.  She is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the UNC School of Law.


January 12, 2021

AJA Relief Webinar January 15

Friday, January 15th, 2021 at 3:00 PM EST

AJA Rx4 Webinar: Relief
Second in the Series
The American Judges Association is excited to announce a series of free webinars for judges, the court community, and the public. The four-webinar series will examine the challenges facing the country and state courts due to the pandemic and social unrest related to systemic racial inequality. Three of the four topics will echo President Franklin Roosevelt’s response to the Great Depression, which focused on Relief, Recovery, and Reform. The fourth will address the steps state courts, and especially judges, can take to ensure that the state justice system provides equal justice to all.
Relief is the second webinar in the series. This webinar panel discussion will highlight the steps courts have taken to resume suspended in-person hearings and jury trials, to adjust to judges and staff working remotely, addressing expanding case backlogs and other issues.

• Judge George Grasso, Supervising Judge of Bronx County Criminal Court, New York (one of the busiest criminal dockets in the nation)
• David Slayton, Director of the Texas Office of Court Administration
To register, click here. Please forward this invitation to all others who may be interested.

Made possible through the generous support of the State Justice Institute.

January 07, 2021

Louisiana Appeals Court Terri Love Withdraws From Supreme Court Race; Opponent Wins by Default

Judge Terri Love, who has served since September 2000 on Louisiana’s  Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal, sought the office held by Bernette Johnson, the court’s first Black chief justice, who was retiring in January.  Her runoff opponent, and a close friend, was  New Orleans Civil District Court Judge Piper Griffin, who issued the following statement:

“Judge Love and I entered this race as friends of more than 35 years. As women of faith, I believe that our Christian values allowed us to run our campaigns with both grace and integrity,” Griffin said in a news release. “While I am grateful to Judge Love for making the path for me so much easier, I realize that just like me, Judge Love truly wanted to be the next Associate Justice on the Louisiana Supreme Court, so her decision to withdraw from the race is bittersweet and therefore very difficult. So, I first want to say ‘Thank You’ to my friend, Judge Terri Love.”

January 07, 2021

Former Chief Judge Griffis Wins Full Term On Mississippi Supreme Court

Kenny Griffis,  a former Chief Judge on the Mississippi Court of Appeal and appointee to that state’s Supreme Court  has won a full eight-year term on the Mississippi Supreme Court.

Griffis is winning a  full-eight year term on the Supreme Court after being appointed by Bryant in 2019 to finish the term of former Chief Justice Bill Waller Jr., who retired in late 2018 and eventually launched an unsuccessful campaign for governor. Before being appointed to the Supreme Court, Griffis, a Meridian native, was serving as chief judge for the Court of Appeals.

Westbrooks is in her first term on the Court of Appeals, representing District 2, which consists of Jackson and a large slice of west Mississippi. She was vying to be the first African American woman to serve on the state’s highest court and only the fifth Black member.  While Westbrooks lost the Supreme Court race, she will remain on the Court of Appeals. Her term does not end until January 2025.

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January 07, 2021

Former Georgia Chief Judge, Chief Justice Carley Dies of COVID

Former Chief Justice George H. Carley died late in late November from COVID-19 at the age of 82.  Justice Carley was appointed to the Supreme Court of Georgia in 1993 and in May 2012,  was sworn in as the 29th Chief Justice, serving as leader of Georgia’s judicial system until Dec. 31, 2012, when his term in office came to an end.   Prior to serving on the state’s highest court, Justice Carley was a judge on the Court of Appeals of Georgia,  from 1979 until 1993. Justice Carley was the first in Georgia history to serve as Presiding Judge and Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals, and as Presiding Justice and Chief Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court.

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September 29, 2020

Chief Judge Felicia Toney Williams of Louisiana’s Second Circuit Retires

Judge Williams, of Tallulah, was the first African American to serve as chief judge of the appellate court headquartered in Shreveport. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Southern University of Baton Rouge in 1977 and her juris doctor from Southern University School of Law in Baton Rouge in 1980. Following graduation, she served as an attorney with the United States Department of Justice, after which she worked as an attorney at Central Louisiana Legal Services and a central staff law clerk at the Louisiana Supreme Court.

Williams later worked as Madison Parish Assistant District Attorney, and as a partner at Williams and Williams APLC. She was elected as 6th Judicial District Court judge in 1991 where she served until her election to the 2nd Circuit in 1993. In 1994 she served as Louisiana Supreme Court Associate Justice pro tempore.

“Chief Judge Williams exemplifies commitment to justice evidenced by her impeccable 30 year career in the judiciary,” said Louisiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Bernette Joshua Johnson. “Her service on the bench has provided a beacon for her successors and she will certainly be missed.”

Associate Justice Scott J. Crichton commented, “It has been my experience to witness her dedication to the rule of law. She is to be commended for her years of service.

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September 29, 2020

Retired Florida Chief Judge Monterey Campbell Passes


Monterey Campbell, a retired 2nd District Court of Appeal judge who practiced law in Polk County for nearly 65 years, died Saturday, two months shy of his 90th birthday.

“As a lawyer and a judge, he was dynamic,” said Oliver Green, a retired judge who had served with Campbell on the Lakeland-based appellate court. “He could untangle a can of worms as well as anybody I’ve ever seen, and he didn’t waste words. He would get right to the point, and we’d go on to something else. It was always a pleasure dealing with him.”

Dwight Eisenhower was in the White House when Campbell, known to friends as Monte or Buddy, graduated from the University of Florida’s law school in 1954, and he was admitted to the Florida Bar the following January.   He served  in the U.S. Air Force before embarking on a legal career that would span six decades and carry him well into his 80s.

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September 29, 2020

Former Chief Judge Edward Cleary Returns to Bench on Senior Status

A familiar face will appear on Zoom screens during the October  oral arguments at the Minnesota Court of Appeals.  Former Chief Judge Edward J. Cleary, who retired in April before reaching mandatory retirement age, will be back as a senior judge.

August 25, 2020

Judge Baker (IL) receives National Eagle Scout Award

Please help me in congratulating Judge Baker for his receipt of the National Eagle Scout Award from the Crossroads of America Counsel. The National Outstanding Eagle Scout Award was created to recognize notable Eagle Scouts who have performed distinguished service at the local, state, or regional level. Often, worthy candidates for the award have inspired others through their actions and have devoted a lifetime to their profession, avocation, community, and beliefs, at great sacrifice to themselves and their families.

The 2020 Awards Dinner will be held virtually tomorrow, August 25th at 7 p.m. The purpose of the Awards Dinner is to recognize outstanding citizens and community leaders, gain positive exposure for Scouting programs in central Indiana and raise operating funds for these growing programs. You are all invited to attend.

To receive the link for the virtual ceremony, please click here to register. Among the various donor options is an individual ticket without cost. This will set you up to receive e-mail and/or text alerts for the event with the link for the event itself.

Congratulations from the entire Court, Judge Baker!

August 21, 2020

Brandon Harrison Named Chief Judge of the Arkansas Court of Appeals

Arkansas Chief Justice Dan Kemp has named Judge Brandon Harrison as chief judge of the Arkansas Court of Appeals, succeeding Judge Rita Gruber.  Judge  Harrison will assume office on September 1st.

Harrison was raised in Fort Smith, Arkansas. He graduated from the University of Arkansas with a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology. He then graduated with a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Arkansas School of Law.

Harrison was first elected to the Court of Appeals in 2012 and elected to a second term earlier this year. Before being elected, Judge Harrison practiced law for nine years and served as law clerk to a United States District Judge in the Eastern District of Arkansas.

In a statement,  Chief Justice Kemp thanked Judge Gruber for her service as chief  judge and  declared that he “looked forward to working with Judge Harrison during his term as chief.”

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August 04, 2020

Robert G. Dowd Jr. elected Chief Judge of the Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District

Judge Robert G. Dowd Jr. has been elected chief judge of the Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District, by unanimous vote of the judges of the court.  Judge  Cynthia L. Martin was elected by her colleagues on the Western District of the Missouri Court of Appeals to serve  as Chief Judge for that court. .

This is the second time he has served as the court’s chief judge.  Dowd previously served as chief judge from July 1998 through June 1999.  The chief judge is the chief administrative officer of the court, presides at court en banc meetings and represents the court to the public.

Dowd’s election marks the sixth time a Dowd has occupied the court’s top post. Dowd’s father, Judge Robert G. Dowd Sr., previously served two terms as chief judge.  His cousin, James R. Dowd, and his brother, James M. Dowd, also served as chief judge of the court.  Chief Judge Dowd declared:

“I am honored to be elected to serve my colleagues as the Court’s next chief judge.  I am dedicated to serving the citizens of the State of Missouri by providing fair and efficient resolution of the appeals that are filed in this Court.”

Dowd was appointed to the Eastern District in 1994.  He earned his bachelor’s degree from Quincy College and his law degree from St. Mary’s University.  Prior to his judicial career, Dowd engaged in private law practice at the Dowd & Dowd Law Firm, founded by his uncle, Edward L. Dowd Sr., and his father.  He was elected in 1978 as a magistrate judge for the city of St. Louis and retained in 1982 as an associate circuit judge.  In 1985, Governor John Ashcroft appointed Dowd as a circuit judge for the city of St. Louis, where he served until his appointment to the Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District, under the Missouri Nonpartisan Court Plan.  In November 2008, he was retained in office for a 12-year term that expires December 31, 2020.  When Dowd’s term concludes in December, he will have served as a judge for 41 years.

The Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District, hears appeals from the trial courts in 25 counties in eastern Missouri and the City of St. Louis. It is the largest court in the state appellate system.  The court is located in the historic Old Post Office in downtown St. Louis but regularly holds sessions at various locations throughout the district.

July 31, 2020

Cynthia Martin elected Chief Judge of Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District

Judge  Cynthia L. Martin has been  elected by her colleagues on the Western District of the Missouri Court of Appeals to serve  as Chief Judge. Her two-year term began July 1, 2020.   Judge Robert G. Dowd Jr. has been elected chief judge of the Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District.

The chief judge serves as the chief administrative officer of the Court,  presents the Court’s budget to the legislature and approves all financial transactions involving the Court. The chief judge also assigns the Court’s 11 judges to panels that will hear appeals and petitions for extraordinary writs, and designates the presiding judges of those panels.

Judge Martin was appointed to the Western District in October 2009. Prior to her appointment, she was a private practitioner for 25 years, with a practice that emphasized commercial litigation, general business representation, public law representation, and business and real estate transactions.   Judge Martin earned her undergraduate degrees from William Jewell College.  She is a graduate of the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law.

Of her appointment, Chief Judge Martin stated: “The Western District of the Missouri Court of Appeals has a long history of serving the citizens of the state by providing timely, thorough, and reasoned analysis of the legal issues presented to us. Maintenance of the public trust in our system of justice, and of the integrity of an independent judiciary, are foundational principles that guide the Court’s work. I am humbled by the Court’s trust, and will endeavor during my term as chief judge to ensure that the Court continues to efficiently, effectively, and fairly serve the citizens of the state of Missouri. ”

May 14, 2020

COVID-19 and the courts – The Judicial Response – Updated June 17, 2020

What Are Courts Doing?

COVID-19   California Courts Roundup  (Updated June 17)

“California courts are beginning to ease months of pandemic-related closures. A Judicial Council working group on June 3 released a 75-page pandemic recovery guide that contains guidance for courts on safely reopening. The committee also set aside $5 million in maintenance funds to reimburse courts for COVID-19-related safety measures.  Here’s a look at how courts across the state are grappling with all the changes associated with the novel coronavirus as of June 16.”


Coping with COVID – The Indiana Experience – Chief Judge Cale J. Bradford

It has been more than two-and-a-half months since the Court of Appeals of Indiana began working remotely. On March 11, employees were directed to work remotely after some of the Court employees had second- and third-degree exposure to people who tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19). Since then, the Court has extended instructions to continue operating remotely three times as the State of Indiana continues to try to stay ahead of COVID-19.

The good news: given the importance of the Court’s work, employees were equipped and trained to work remotely. From the start of this unprecedented time, the Court of Appeals of Indiana was fully functioning in remote capacity and conducting business as usual.

Today’s technology has made this transition much easier than it would have been years ago. One week after being sent home to work remotely, the Court held Committee Meetings telephonically. Two weeks after being sent home to work remotely, Court Conference was held via Microsoft Teams, and the Court approved the function of a working group to explore technology that would enable the Court to conduct oral arguments remotely.

After testing multiple video conference technologies, the Court decided Zoom would work best for its continued needs. Judges and staff were all trained to use Zoom, and many security features were applied to the Court’s Zoom accounts.

On May 5, the Court of Appeals of Indiana judges took part in the Indiana Supreme Court Spring 2020 Bar Admission Ceremony, which was held virtually via Zoom and livestreamed from the Court’s website.

History was made again when the Court held its first remote oral argument via Zoom on May 21. Oral arguments are continuing to be scheduled and held virtually for the time being. All oral arguments are livestreamed on the Court’s website, and the recordings are available two hours after the oral argument has ended, just as they were before.

As the state begins reopening, the Court continues to monitor what healthcare and civic leaders share about this situation as it cautiously approaches a return to normalcy. From the beginning, the Court’s paramount concern has been for the health and safety of its employees and every decision has been made with that foremost in mind.

Through such a difficult and unusual time, the Court of Appeals of Indiana has done a great job in moving to, and carrying out, all essential functions in remote status.

Louisiana Parishes Adapt Quickly to Hearings Over Zoom

For more than a month, as the coronavirus pandemic swept through Louisiana, detained juveniles sat in the nearby juvenile jail while Orleans Parish Juvenile Court’s courtrooms — both virtual and real — sat empty.

As the other juvenile courts in Louisiana scrambled to hold essential hearings over the internet through platforms such as Zoom because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Orleans Parish Juvenile court did not.

Instead, they closed their doors on March 19 after announcing that two people who had attended a hearing nine days earlier had tested positive for COVID-19. All hearings stopped. Instead, the judges ruled on individual cases and released detained youths at their discretion. Beyond submitting motions that either were not ruled on or were denied, public defenders couldn’t advocate for their young detained clients. This went on until April 23, when a judge from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ordered them to begin holding virtual hearings.

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Maryland Courts Reopen

Beginning at 5 p.m., on Friday, June 5, the Maryland courts will begin implementing its reopening plan that guides courts across the state of Maryland as to how they should gradually return to full operations throughout the next several weeks and months.

There are five phases in the plan and each phase will represent an increase in the level of activity within each courthouse and court office. Depending on the current state of COVID-19 throughout Maryland, it may be necessary for a court and/or jurisdiction to adjust phases.

The Judiciary is closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation and evaluating its ongoing response to this public health emergency. Until further notice, the courts will continue using technology for remote proceedings, either by video or telephone, but please note that this will vary by court location. The general public, members of the media, and attorneys should reference the COVID-19 webpages for the latest information on individual court operations. Court closings related to coronavirus.

The courts are requiring any individual, including employees, seeking access to a courthouse or court office location to:

  • Answer a set of screening questions;
  • Be subject to temperature checks;
  • Wear a facial covering or mask; and
  • Practice social distancing

Maryland Court of Appeals Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera issued an Administrative Order on the Progressive Resumption of Full Function of Judiciary Operations on May 22.

“The details in the reopening plan were carefully and deliberately crafted by workgroups composed of Judiciary leadership, with the health and well-being of court visitors and employees as the driving force, in our work to increase access to the courts,” Barbera said in a news release. “We acknowledge the courts will not be able to immediately return to full operations.”

Access to courthouses was very restricted during phase one; with the start of phase two, the court will open up for some in-person things, including limited court proceedings, Knight said.

In preparation, Knight and Queen Anne’s County Health Officer Dr. Joseph Ciotola walked through the courthouse and discussed capacity and social distancing. They made arrangements to have personal protective equipment — face masks, gloves, hand sanitizer — on hand in case people show up without it, she said.

During phase two, courts will continue to be closed to public except for those who are necessary to the matters being heard. There will be limited court proceedings and courts will continue using technology — video or telephone conferencing — to cut down on the number of people in the building.

“We have been using technology to be efficient under the limitations of the current pandemic,” Knight said. “And we’re trying to limit paper.”They will be scheduling when people actually come in as of June 8, Knight said.

People will be asked to show up at a specific time. They will need to allow some time for the screening process. Knight said people should check their scheduling notice carefully; instructions will be included.

Anyone seeking access to the courthouse must answer a set of COVID-19 screening questions, have their temperature checked with a no-contact digital thermometer, wear a face covering or mask, and practice social distancing.

“I have to protect the staff as well as the community,” Knight said. “We have to follow proper safe procedures.”

Under Barbera’s orders, the clerk’s office remains technically closed until July 20, when phase three is scheduled to begin. In-person transactions are prohibited with limited exceptions, according to Clerk of Court Katherine B. Hager.  Those exceptions include services such as notary and special police commissions, Governor appointment oaths and emergency judicial matters. All those cases are being handled by appointment only.

Even though the clerk’s office is closed to the public, it continues to process all work received.  “We are receiving court filings, land recordings, and licenses through the mail or drop box located inside the front doors of the courthouse, as well as electronic filings for MDEC and eRecording for land records,” Hager said. “My staff has worked through the closure since March 17 with some teleworking and some working in the office.

“We have taken considerable measures to ensure it is safe to enter the courthouse for court visitors and staff while staying socially distant.”

Local citizens shouldn’t expect to be called for jury duty any time soon. Jury trials aren’t scheduled to resume until after Oct. 5, Knight said.

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Similar stories from other states:


Henry County court officials are planning a phased-in reopening of the courthouse and court services, but it’s unlikely full trials will be offered until at least August.

Meanwhile, the backlog of cases, tickets and service requests continues to increase.

Circuit Court Clerk Jackie Oberg said Wednesday that most services offered by the 14th District Court had slowed to a trickle because of COVID-19 restrictions put in place in March. Those restrictions include limited access to the courthouse, required face coverings, pre-arranged appointments, a reduced court docket and the short-term forebearance of traffic tickets.

“We are seeing some court cases, but cases with very few people involved,” she said. “We’re still on a very limited schedule.” Only bench trials are being conducted for now, with defendants appearing only with their lawyers.  “We can’t do a jury trial right now because we have to bring in 50 or 60 people and make selections,”

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Pandemic causing massive court system backlog – Television Story



Backlog and Budget Cuts

Court officials warned Monday of a huge backlog of cases built up by the coronavirus shutdown hitting at a time when they will be forced to furlough and lay off staff to meet the state’s requirement to cut spending.  Indictments have been delayed, defendants have spent months in jail awaiting trial and court cases have been postponed during the pandemic.

“We are at an all-hands-on-deck moment,” said Brian Amero, the chief judge of the Flint Judicial Circuit in Henry County and president of the Council of Superior Court Judges. “The extent to which this avalanche of work is about to hit superior court judges cannot be overstated.” Amero and other court officials painted lawmakers a picture of a judicial system that will be shorthanded and force those who keep their jobs — including judges — to dig out of case backlogs while earning less money.

Omotayo B. Alli, the executive director of the Georgia Public Defender Council, told lawmakers that if they insist on weeks of furloughs for her staff, “The criminal justice system is going to crash.”

Read more:–regional-govt–politics/georgia-courts-predict-avalanche-cases-while-state-cuts-budgets/aWZuUAY42FUTz675Rug7IO/


Most Florida state court proceedings are delayed until late July, which means most operations will he curtailed for more than four months.

While other jurisdictions are resuming trials, Florida’s chief justice pushed back a hard deadline on cases with juries until late July and slid reports assessing a pilot program for remote civil jury trials until October. Florida courts will remain closed to all but essential functions through July 20, two weeks longer than previously ordered by Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles Canady. Statewide grand jury proceedings won’t resume until July 27.


The first statewide court restrictions took effect March 13, which means the mass shutdown with limited exceptions will last more than four months. The Florida Supreme Court and District Courts of Appeal have adopted virtual arguments, and constitutionally mandated hearings are being held.

Miami-Dade Circuit Court is part of a five-circuit group testing virtual civil jury trials, and Broward Circuit Chief Judge Jack Tuter has been pushing ahead on his own with remote experiments.

Read More

Articles About Remote Oral Arguments

Telephonic Oral Arguments – United States Supreme Court

“ . . . those arguments no longer present the largely unstructured free-for-all in which the justices compete with one another to ask questions and the advocates struggle to answer before being abruptly interrupted over and over again. Instead, the high court’s telephonic arguments have resulted in a procedure whereby, after brief introductory remarks from the advocate, each Justice is recognized individually by the chief justice to conduct a few minutes worth of questioning before moving on to the next questioner. This new format certainly has its own pluses and minuses. Justice Clarence Thomas has become a full-fledged participant in the court’s telephonic oral arguments, to the delight of many. Statistics compiled by Adam Feldman at his “Empirical SCOTUS” blog show, surprisingly, that the advocates are speaking more under the new format than they had been speaking during in-person oral arguments. And no doubt the biggest plus is the general public’s historic ability to listen live to the argument of cases pending before the nation’s highest court.

“On the minus side, the new oral argument structure prevents advocates and the justices from developing momentum in discussing major points at oral argument, as the telephonic questioning tends to be more disjointed as each justice can focus on whatever matters most to him or her. And it is difficult for the justices to fully explore the questions of most concern to them and for the advocates to have the benefit of sustained follow-up questions from any single justice.

“Nevertheless, the organized manner in which the U.S. Supreme Court is conducting its telephonic oral arguments does address one major concern with that method of appellate oral argument: the lack of visual cues preventing the advocate from seeing if a justice is about to ask a question or is satisfied or unsatisfied with the advocate’s answers to previous questions. The free-for-all method of appellate oral argument, whereby judges interrupt the advocate at will, works well for in-person argument but threatens unintelligible cross-talk during telephonic argument.”

Read more:

Telephonic Arguments Supreme Court and Elsewhere.  Mixed Reviews.

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, the court – which has often stayed open and heard argument even when inclement weather or budgetary constraints shut down other government institutions – has been operating in relatively uncharted waters. As Tom Goldstein discussed on the blog last month, the closest analogy may be the Spanish flu of 1918, which prompted the justices to postpone oral arguments for approximately a month in the fall of that year. But the Supreme Court of 2020 has one advantage available to it that the justices of 1918 did not – modern technology.” many state supreme courts and lower federal courts around the country have responded to the pandemic by holding arguments remotely. Some, like the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, held oral arguments by telephone, while others – such as the highest courts in Michigan and Texas – relied on video-conferencing platforms such as Zoom. In each of these courts, the public could listen to (for the D.C. Circuit) or watch (for Michigan and Texas) the oral arguments in real time.  The initial experiments with remote arguments did not go off seamlessly. . .

Read more:


Courtroom access: Faced with a pandemic, the Supreme Court pivots

Kansas Court of Appeals

Holding their first “virtual argument.”  Case involves a dispute over gas well revenue. “Kansas courts are committed to delivering timely justice, especially during challenging times such as we are experiencing now,” said Karen Arnold-Burger, chief judge of the Court of Appeals. “We decide many cases on their written record, but some attorneys want the opportunity to argue their cases before the court, and oral argument by videoconference allows us to accommodate them.” The Court has allowed attorneys to appear over videoconference since 2016, but this will be the first time the judges will also call in from separate locations.  The arguments will also be livestreamed over the Court’s YouTube channel for the public to view.

Louisiana Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal

The Louisiana Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal became the first Louisiana appellate court to hear oral arguments remotely when it successfully heard six arguments this week via the videoconferencing application, Zoom. Participating from their respective homes and offices, all eight Judges and fourteen attorneys convened in virtual courtrooms to argue the six cases

Read more:

Maryland Court of Special Appeals

Oral arguments for May 2020 and June 2020 will take place remotely using Webex as its platform. To

help litigants familiarize themselves with Webex, the Court’s Clerk will offer test Webex sessions a few days prior to scheduled argument.   Counsel who have not previously used Webex are strongly encouraged to participate in one of these test sessions. Public access to arguments held remotely will be provided by posting a recording of the argument on the Court’s webpage as soon as possible after arguments have concluded.

Read more:

Florida Courts of Appeal

“Florida’s appellate lawyers and judges are at the forefront of utilizing technology to prevent the annihilation of oral arguments—a practice that both sides crave.”

Impact of Epidemic on Court Operations

  1. New York

“New York state court officials . . . reported 168 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among its court employees, including 17 judges — two of whom have died.”

Justices Johnny Lee Baynes  and Noach Dear and, Justice Baynes died.    Justice Baynes died on March 26 after serving nearly three decades on the bench.  Justice Dear served as a New York City councilman from 1983 to 2001 before taking the bench in New York City civil court in 2008.

Read more:

Related Articles

Recently Elected NY Judge Dies Of COVID-19

San Antonio Judge With COVID-19 Urges Public To Stay Home

NY Judges Release 122 Inmates As Virus Cases Spike In Jails

NY Courts Report 2 Dozen COVID-19 Cases, Adding DA, Juror

New York State Courthouses To Set Coronavirus Restrictions


  1. Georgia. COVID19 spreads through the Dougherty County Courthouse

An infected juror potentially exposed the entire jury pool, the prosecutor, the defendant and his lawyer, court bailiffs, the judge and her court reporter and other court personnel.  While the DA in the criminal case did not recall the juror displaying any signs of illness, the juror sent a note to the presiding judge on the third day of trial.   Thereafter, staff throughout the courthouse began testing  positive for the virus. County Probate Judge Nancy Stephenson died.   Her husband, Dougherty State Court Judge John Stephenson became ill with the virus.

Read more:

  1. Indiana – Virtually empty: Courts try to keep dockets moving amid pandemic

“Like the rest of the world, the judiciary has been walking a tightrope for the last six weeks, trying to keep courts open while protecting judges, staff, lawyers, litigants and the public from COVID-19 exposure.

“The solution, as in most other professions, has been a transition to remote work, though that transition has not been total. Some judges still have come to court every day, working alongside a skeleton staff to keep dockets moving. Some clerk’s offices have remained open, too, offering limited access to public services all while adhering to social distancing guidelines.

“Also like the rest of the world, the judiciary is grappling with the question of essential versus non-essential services. Which hearings can be continued, and which must continue to honor defendants’ rights?

“And then, of course, there’s the future. As society begins to reopen, how quickly can courts restore operations to full capacity? What will all of the continuances mean for already heavy caseloads?”

Read more:


  1. Florida. Florida Chief Justice appoints 17- member group to develop plan for a return to normal court operations.













May 14, 2020

Judge Segal New Chief Judge Minnesota Court of Appeals June 12 Update

Susan Segal was appointed chief judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals on April 13. Segal will serve the remainder of Edward J. Cleary’s term as chief of the court, which ends on October 31, 2022. Cleary announced his retirement effective April 30 in the fall of 2019.

A graduate of University of California, Berkeley, and University of Michigan Law School, Segal becomes the second woman to serve as chief judge in the court’s 36 year history.  She was  appointed  to the appellate court in November 2019 following the retirement of Jill Flaskamp Hallbrooks after working at  several firms and serving as the Minneapolis City Attorney for twelve years.  According to Minneapolis Mayor  Jacob Frey,  “She’s a small Jewish woman with a mountainous personality.   She’ll drum you into the ground if you’re not falling on the side of justice. She handles herself with grace, poise, and an occasional flourish of profanity, and I love her.”The Court of Appeals’ decisions are the final ruling in about 95 percent of the 2,000 to 2,400 appeals filed every year. Typically, approximately 5 percent of the court’s decisions are accepted by the Minnesota Supreme Court for further review.

Addendum- June 12, 2020

In  an interview in the Minnesota Lawyer, Judge Segal reflected on her new role, having been elevated to Chief judge only months after first donning a robe  for the first time in her life at age 64.

Read more:



May 14, 2020

Maryland Chief Judge Matthew Fader Honored

Chief Judge Matthew Fader of the Maryland Court of Special Appeals has been named a winner of the 2020 Influential Marylanders award.  Maryland Governor Larry Hogan has picked  Fader to serve as the chief judge of the Maryland Court of Special Appeals, Maryland’s intermediate appellate court,  in 2018.   When announcing Fader’s appointment as chief judge, Gov. Larry Hogan said he was “confident that Judge Fader is the most qualified candidate to step into the chief judge role,” and added, “I know that he will serve the people of Maryland well in this new role.”   His appointment as chief came only three years after his appointment to the court and after a lifetime of achievement.  He  earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia, where he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, and his J.D. from Yale Law School.  Before his appointment to the bench, he served as an Assistant Attorney General with the Office of the Attorney General and as Chief of Civil Litigation for the State of Maryland.  He was a partner at the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based firm of Kirkpatrick and Lockhardt, LLP, an international law firm, where he represented clients in commercial litigation in federal and state courts, as well as arbitrations and  counseled clients on compliance with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.   He began his legal career as a trial attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice from 1999-2002.

March 27, 2020

COVID-19 Web Resources

Selected Web Links

[Washington Post:   How epidemics like covid-19 end(and how to end them faster)

[Why outbreaks like coronavirus spread exponentially and how to “Flatten the curve”

Wordometer – COVID 19 Statistics by country – updated daily

Centers For Disease Control and Prevention

March 27, 2020

COVID-19 Stopping the Spread

On December 31, 2019, China alerted the World Health Organization (WHO) to several cases of an unusual pneumonia in the city of Wuhan.  The first death was reported on January 11 and the following week cases were confirmed in the United States. By the time this news item is published on our website on March 27,  less than three months after the Chinese alert, and about two months after its appearance in America, more than 600,000 cases of COVID-19 will have been reported worldwide. This is no ordinary disease. It spreads silently, often from people with no obvious symptoms, and the infected often have no clue as to how they got the disease – what door knob they touched or hand they shook.   It kills; almost 26,000 people have died. The speed of its spread and the suffering it causes are astounding and should strike terror in the hearts of us all.

On March 14, I outlined steps our court would be taking to address the threat posed by the coronavirus. Devising a course of action was difficult because there were no models for fighting an epidemic, no certainty in some minds that an epidemic was even developing and only a very incomplete understanding of the coronavirus.  Emotions ran the gamut from hysteria and a compulsion to “do something” no matter how ineffectual, to indifference because the threat seemed so distant and uncertain.

In devising our plans, my judicial colleagues and I were committed to protecting  the health and safety of court personnel and court users through meaningful action based on the advice of health experts.  As the number of cases increased at an astounding rate, the nature of the threat clarified and the clarity of the advice improved.

Advice from health experts

The health experts advised that the coronavirus is spread mostly by person-to-person contact.  Hence, we had to decrease the opportunity for infected persons to infect others by reducing person-to-person contact,  by increasing space between people or decreasing the number of people in a space.

Related to that, the health experts advised that humans were disease agents and  the movement of people exacerbated the spread of the disease.  So we had to decrease the need for people to move —  to take planes, trains and other conveyances to come to court.

The virus is usually spread person to person but the Centers for Disease Control announced that it “may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes…”  We had to sanitize surfaces and appliances that people come into contact with.

The coronavirus attacks the lungs. We learned the elderly and people with compromised immune or respiratory systems were at extremely high risk.  What might be a major inconvenience and source of suffering for the young could be a death sentence for the old and those with immunological disorders. We had to make them aware of the risk and encourage their isolation.

My court is one of six appellate districts in California.  Each district devised a plan of its own that took into account the work force of the court,  the population served, and the political environment – various local public health directives and orders influenced our decision making.  The six administrative presiding judges collaborated and the major themes of our plans bear  remarkable similarities.

To reduce person to person contact, we sent most of our staffs home to work remotely.  Telecommuting is not an ideal working arrangement for some, especially when children and spouses are in the home workplace as a result of school closures and stay at home orders; domestic chores compete with court assignments.  But, properly structured and organized it will work in a pinch.  We are in a pinch.  This is only a temporary work arrangement.

We changed our oral argument practices ranging from encouraging counsel to appear telephonically, to mandating telephonic arguments, to postponing arguments entirely.   Oral arguments attract people to the courthouse; our goal was to reduce travel and reduce the number of people in our facility.

To ensure the physical safety of our facilities, we increased regular cleanings and sanitizing.   Some personnel still  need to come in to the court.  While we have made great strides over the years in digitizing documents, the trial courts still rely greatly on paper documents.  We encouraged personnel who come to the courthouse as necessary to not use public transportation, and to be vigilant about handwashing, hand sanitizing, and social distancing.

What is your court doing?   Join the discussion on The Chiefs Forum.  Let’s share information  and save lives together.


Web Editor



March 27, 2020

COVID 19 and the courts: The Judicial Response


What Are Courts Doing?

What are the courts doing? Join  the discussion in the Chiefs Forum. (

National News Roundup

Coronavirus Crisis Deepens, More Courts Abandon In-Person Operations

Federal and state judiciaries in New York, California, New Jersey and Washington, D.C., are among the many across the nation that have been disrupted. (March 17)

More courthouses across the nation are restricting access to visitors as the number of people infected with the COVID-19 respiratory illness continues to spread.

Federal and state judiciaries in New York, California, New Jersey and Washington, D.C., are among the many across the nation limiting access and altering the manner in which in-person hearings are conducted in order to mitigate the spread of the illness. Some have even gone as far as calling off oral arguments.

(Extensive Article – Read More) and-limit-oral-arguments/

California Court Roundup (March 17)

State courts across California are implementing a variety of measures to curtail public activity in many instances, and in others to shut down completely.

The California Supreme Court on Monday suspended in-person oral arguments until ”deemed prudent to resume normal measures.” Counsel will appear by video or telephone. All oral argument sessions will be held in San Francisco. The sessions will be open to the public but seating will be limited. Until the suspension order was issued, the court was scheduled to be in session the week of April 6 in Los Angeles.

The court on Wednesday also extended mandatory filings of all documents, including briefs.

Article describes how courts across the state are grappling with the threat of the novel coronavirus as of Wednesday evening.


Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles Canady late Tuesday took another step to try to limit the spread of the coronavirus in courthouses, ordering that in-person hearings be restricted to matters that are “essential” or “critical” to the public-health emergency.

Canady, in a five-page administrative order that gave directions to chief judges of the judicial circuits, said the requirements would last through March 27, though he left open the possibility they could be extended.A March 13 order, in part, suspended grand-jury proceedings, jury selections and criminal and civil jury trials through March 27.

The March 17 order gave more-specific direction that said circuit and county courts should continue to perform “essential” court proceedings such as first appearances in criminal cases; necessary criminal arraignments; bond hearings; juvenile-delinquency detention hearings; and hearings about whether people should be involuntarily committed under the Baker Act.

The order also said courts should hold “critical proceedings related to the state of emergency or the public health emergency,” including the possibility of dealing with issues such as violations of quarantines, violations of orders to close buildings and enforcement of curfews.Canady wrote that the order does not prevent chief judges from determining that additional proceedings are “essential or are critical to the state of emergency or the public health emergency.”

The Supreme Court also announced that its oral arguments scheduled for April would be postponed until June.   Similarly, the state’s district courts of appeal have taken steps such as canceling oral arguments in the coming weeks.

“Because of ongoing concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic, the First District Court of Appeal has postponed or canceled all oral argument sessions scheduled through the end of April,” Chief Judge Stephanie Ray wrote in a message posted on the website of the Tallahassee-based 1st District Court of Appeal, which hears cases from across North Florida. “The panel (of judges) assigned to hear each affected case will determine whether to reschedule the oral argument or to decide the case without oral argument.”

Read more:


Kentucky’s state court system largely will shut down for the next month to avoid spreading the novel coronavirus among crowds at courthouses, according to an emergency order released by Chief Justice John Minton Jr.  The Kentucky Supreme Court also canceled oral arguments in a half-dozen cases on appeal that it was scheduled to hear in its state Capitol courtroom.

The move  lasts through April 10.

In the federal court system, all civil and criminal trials scheduled to start between March 16 and April 17 will be continued for at least 30 days

Read more:


State and federal courts in Maryland are further reducing activities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to new and revised administrative orders issued Monday night.

Maryland state courts, which Court of Appeals Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera previously closed to the public but kept open for emergency proceedings, will move to restricted operations .

The latest administrative order was Barbera’s first exercise of new emergency powers under revisions to the Maryland Rules approved by the Court of Appeals.

“In response to COVID-19, the Maryland Judiciary is taking further action to protect court visitors and Judiciary personnel,” Barbera said in a statement. “The health and well-being of all Marylanders continue to be a top priority as we ensure that essential court operations continue during this public health emergency.”

Under the order, Maryland courts, court offices, administrative offices, units of the judiciary and clerk’s offices will be restricted to emergency operations and closed with limited exceptions until April 3. Each jurisdiction is required to have enough judges to hear specified emergency measures during the week and essential personnel, identified by administrative judges, other administrative heads and clerks, must report as required.

During the emergency, all Maryland judges are allowed to sit in any trial court in the state and must be available to respond in person or remotely, according to the order.

The Court of Appeals will continue to hear certain cases involving election law, writs of mandamus and certified questions of law. The Court of Special Appeals will hear requests for injunctive relief pending appeal and appeals where a lack of action will have a dispositive outcome. Both appellate courts will hear matters involving quarantine and isolation.


Read more:


State, federal courts further restrict entry and proceedings over virus


High court approves emergency powers for chief judge in pandemic


Gov. Tim Walz on Sunday placed court employees on the front lines of the COVID-19 response, ranking them alongside corrections workers, first responders, health clinicians and public health professionals.

As he did for other front-line responders, Walz on Sunday ordered schools to provide day care to court workers’ kids, keeping their parents on the job. Minimally, that means offering services to children ages 12 and under.

The declaration was part of a Walz executive order issued Sunday. It closes Minnesota’s public schools no later than Wednesday until March 27, though they must continue to provide daycare to front-line workers’ kids. The school-closure process begins Monday, Walz said.

“We are in uncharted territory,” Walz said during a Sunday press conference.

The governor’s latest order follows one by Chief Justice Lorie Gildea, issued Friday, that keeps many state courtrooms functioning, albeit with major adjustments.

Gildea’s order requires that:

  • Appeals pending before both the state Supreme Court and Minnesota Court of Appeals, including argument calendars, will continue as scheduled.
  • Trials for any case type in which a jury has been empaneled and the trial was underway by March 13 must continue to conclusion—absent good cause to suspend based on health and safety.
  • Beginning March 16, every judicial district will use the Judicial Branch’s case priorities list to decide which cases will proceed. But proceedings in “Super High Priority” and “High Priority” cases must continue according to governing statutes and court rules.
  • For cases other than Super High-, High-priority and criminal proceedings subject to the speedy-trial demand, no new jury trials can start or be scheduled on or after March 16; that condition remains in effect for 30 days. No other non-exempt District Court proceedings may begin after March 16; that restriction lasts through March 30.
  • Effective immediately, or at least as soon as practicable, all case-type proceedings—including the Supreme Court’s Commitment Appeal Panel—should be held via interactive video. To facilitate that, Criminal Procedure Rule 1.05 and Rule 14 of the Rules of Procedure governing commitment and treatment are suspended, pending further orders.
  • Jurors summoned for trials that will proceed must appear as directed, unless they notify the court in writing or by phone that they have been exposed or are at risk to infection. Jurors empaneled for trials already in progress also must appear, subject to the same conditions.
  • Parties or witnesses scheduled to appear in court also must provide notification if they can’t appear because of actual or suspected exposure.
  • Courtrooms and court proceedings will remain open to the public, though non-essential visits are discouraged. No one at elevated risk of transmitting COVID-19 may attend a court hearing or proceeding.
  • To the extent that people must be present at courthouses, court staff will promote social distancing and other strategies recommended by the state Health Department.


Read More


Walz order: Court workers on COVID-19 front line


Court officials announced precautions will be taken in an effort to reduce the spread of illness as cases of the coronavirus COVID-19 increase in the state.

In response to COVID-19, the Supreme Court of Missouri Monday suspended – subject to certain listed exceptions – all in-person proceedings in all appellate and circuit courts, including all associate, family, juvenile, municipal and probate divisions, through April 3.

Read more:

New Mexico

  Courts will remain open but have implemented protocols to curtail exposure to the novel coronavirus, the virus that causes COVID-19

District, magistrate, metropolitan and appellate courts will remain open for business, to ensure courts fulfill their constitutional and statutory duties. However, civil proceedings that have not begun yet will be postponed until further notice, unless there’s an extenuating circumstance. (3/15/20)

Read more:

Washington D.C.

Coronavirus slowing wheels of justice in D.C. region with closed courthouses, delayed trials.  Across the region, all kinds of criminal and civil cases — from traffic-ticket hearings to a trial stemming from former special counsel Robert S. Mu eller III’s investigation into election interference — have been put on hold until the health crisis abates.

Read more:

Supreme Court Postpones Arguments Amid Outbreak

March 16, 2020, 2:19 PM

The U.S. Supreme Court postponed a two-week argument session that had been set to start next week, making a highly unusual calendar change as the coronavirus outbreak spreads across the country.

It’s the first time in decades, and perhaps a century, that the court has canceled a courtroom session because of a public-health scare.

The court had been set to hear arguments in 11 cases during the weeks of March 23 and March 30. Those cases include an $8 billion copyright clash between Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Oracle Corp., set for argument March 24.

The court was also planning March 31 arguments on President Donald Trump’s challenge to subpoenas for his financial information issued by three House committees and a New York grand jury. Trump is trying to block his banks and accounting firm from turning over the records.

The court said in a statement it will “examine the options for rescheduling those cases in due course in light of the developing circumstances.”

The move follows similar steps by courts around the country, as judges delayed trials and modified argument procedures to avoid or limit in-person sessions.

U.K. Courts Carry on While Virus Halts EU Cases, Lawsuits

Read more:


West Virginia

State courts in West Virginia were directed Monday to suspend all but emergency proceedings through April 10 over safety concerns with the COVID-19 coronavirus.

All civil and criminal trials and jury orientations should be postponed with the only exception being a trial where a criminal defendant’s speedy trial rights may preclude the postponement, according to the Supreme Court order filed on Monday.

Emergency hearings arising from abuse and neglect petitions, domestic violence protective order petitions, mental hygiene petitions and criminal arraignments and preliminary hearings with statutory time requirements can still be held, at the discretion of the presiding judge.

Emergency hearings should be held using technology to avoid person-to-person contact, if possible. Circuit clerk’s offices and judicial offices throughout West Virginia where public access has been restricted should remain available by phone and e-mail and have drop boxes for court filings.

There is a drop box for filings at the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia Clerk’s Office and the office will remain open. All cases scheduled to be heard by the Supreme Court today, Wednesday, March 24 and 25 will be rescheduled.

Read more:


W.Va. Supreme Court of Appeals issues order to suspend all court proceedings in the state amid COVID-19 concerns









January 15, 2020

Appeals on Wheels – Indiana Court of Appeals Completes Goal of Hosting Oral Arguments in All of State’s 92 Counties.

Created in 2001, the Appeals on Wheels program set a goal in 2018 to host an argument in every county.  Between 2018 and 2019 the court hosted 88 oral arguments, far exceeding  prior years.  According to Court of Appeals Communications Director Ashley Reed, meeting the milestone was a historic moment for the appellate court.

Former  Chief Judge Nancy Vaidik  agreed.  “We made a concerted effort in the last two years to hit every county. It was important to me as chief judge to hit every county in the state. It feels wonderful.”

Vaidik — whose term as chief judge ended Dec. 31 — reflected on the importance of promoting civic education and showing Hoosiers young and old the opportunities available to them:  “Not many people understand what an appellate court does, the former chief said, and not many can afford to travel and witness the judicial process in action. The solution, then, is to meet them right where they are.”  “We are not the ivory tower that they might have an impression of,” Vaidik said. “That’s not who we are. We are there having a real argument, doing our job in front of them.”

Read the extensive article:

January 14, 2020

New CCJSCA White Paper on “Enhancing Communications Collaboration and Collegiality in State Courts of Appeal”

Communication, collaboration and collegiality are considered essential elements of a productive and well functioning appellate court.   This third in a series of white papers prepared for the Council of Chief Judges by the National Center for State Courts with funding from the State Justice Institute explores these elements.  The goal is to provide chief judges with the insight needed to assess and improve the quality of communication, collaboration and collegiality in their courts.   The white paper  examines the widespread use of  communications technology and its impact on the appellate court environment.  In separate sections it explores, among other topics, the quality of communications and collegiality between individual judges as well as between judges and court staff.      The study makes extensive use of surveys with staff and judges from 38 respondent  courts in 27 states who opined on a variety topics including the impact of remote working arrangements, and communication technologies that encourage  less  “face-time” communication.  It is a “must-read.”

The white paper can be accessed in the “Learning Center” at the link below:

January 07, 2020

Cale Bradford New Chief Judge of Indiana Court of Appeals

Judge Cale Bradford has been elected by his colleagues on the Indiana Court of Appeals to serve as the court’s chief judge  for the next three years as the lower appellate court’s chief judge. He succeeds Judge Nancy Vaidik.  Bradford, whose term began  Jan. 1., has served on the Court of Appeals for nearly 13 years.

Gov. Mitch Daniels appointed Bradford to the appellate bench in 2007.   Prior to his service on the COA, he served for more than 10 years as judge of the Marion Superior Court, with seven years in the criminal division and three in the civil division. He is a graduate of Indiana University Bloomington and Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law in Indianapolis.

“I’m certainly humbled by my fellow judges’ confidence in me, and I hope to approach the job with a sense of humility and servant’s mentality and a goal to represent the court at a very high level professionally,” Bradford said.

Read more:

November 26, 2019

Retired Louisiana Chief Judge Burrell Carter Dies

Retired Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeal Chief Judge Burrell Carter died on November 11, 2019 after a three-month battle with cancer. He was 84.

“He was committed to the law, committed to family, and committed to those who elected him,” First Circuit of Appeal Judge John Michael Guidry said after learning of Carter’s passing. “He worked hard to improve the administration of justice as chief judge.” Carter served as the appellate court’s chief judge for the last 12 years of his 30-year tenure on the First Circuit Court of Appeal, before retiring in 2012.

Carter, who graduated top of his class from LSU Law School in 1958, was elected onto the First Circuit Court of Appeal in 1981 after having served as a state district court judge for seven years in the 21st Judicial District Court. He was a practicing attorney for 16 years between 1958 to 1974, serving as legal representative for the U.S. Farmer’s Home Administration, Edward Hines Lumber Company, Georgia Pacific Corporation and Century Telephone and Telegraph. In the 1980s and 90s, Carter served at various times as an ad hoc judge in the Louisiana Supreme Court and in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal.

November 22, 2019

Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice, Former Chief Judge Mark Cady Dies Unexpectedly

Mark Cady

Cady died unexpectedly Friday night from a heart attack.

“Tonight, the state lost a great man, husband, father, grandfather, and jurist,” the family wrote.

In an accompanying post, the court described him as an exceptional judge who was respected and beloved by his fellow jurists. “His passing is a great loss to the court and the state he so loyally served,” the court wrote. A court spokesman, Steve Davis, said Cady was in Des Moines when he died.

Cady had been a key swing vote on the court in recent years, as Republicans took control of the Legislature and governor’s office and passed new laws aimed at expanding gun rights, restricting abortion and barring gay marriage. Cady wrote the 2009 unanimous opinion that made Iowa the nation’s third state to permit same-sex marriage. The ruling came years before the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court decision that struck down gay marriage bans throughout the country.

Gov. Kim Reynolds ordered on Saturday all flags in Iowa to be lowered to half-staff and to remain that way until a memorial service is held. She said she was heartbroken to learn of his death. “He loved the law, the judiciary, and the state we call home. He leaves behind a legacy of service and dedication that we should never forget,” she said.

Cady, of Ft. Dodge, was appointed to the Iowa Supreme Court in 1998 by Republican Gov. Terry Branstad . The members of the court selected him as chief justice in 2011Branstad, now U.S. ambassador to China, said in a statement that accompanied Reynolds’ that he was proud to have appointed Cady to the district court, appeals court and state Supreme Court. “He was a dedicated jurist who was liked and respected for his strong work ethic and fairness,” Branstad wrote.

Born in Rapid City, South Dakota, Cady earned his undergraduate and law degrees from Drake University in Des Moines. He was appointed a district court judge in 1986. In 1994, he was appointed to the Iowa Court of Appeals and was elected chief judge in 1997 and served until his appointment to the state Supreme Court. He was chairman of the National Center for State Courts Board of Directors and served as president of the Conference of Chief Justices.

Cady is survived by his wife, Becky, two children and four grandchildren.

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November 22, 2019

Georgia Appellate Courts Moving Into New $131 Million Judicial Center

Georgia Appellate Courts Moving Into New $131 Million Judicial Center

The Georgia Supreme Court and Court of Appeals will be moving in December into the Nathan Deal Judicial Center, named for the former governor who allocated $131 million for that purpose. The project has been part of the strategic plan since 2008 but the design has been in the mind of the project’s lead architect for 20 years.

The Georgia Supreme Court will move in first. The 15-member Court of Appeals and its larger staff of 112 plus interns will move after the Supreme Court. Georgia Court of Appeals Clerk Steve E. Castlen said the move is “a complete upheaval of everything.” “Now we have judges spread out over different floors and buildings. Some of the offices are not nice. They’re awful,” Castlen said. “It’s overwhelming how great this new building is.”

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October 31, 2019

Rebecca Combs Lyon named clerk of the Kentucky Court of Appeals

Rebecca Combs Lyon became the first woman to serve as clerk of the Kentucky Court of Appeals when she assumed that role Oct. 1. The appellate clerk is appointed and responsible for the custody, control and storage of all appellate records.

Lyon has served the Court of Appeals in various capacities for more than 30 years. She has been an appellate staff attorney at Central Office, the civil motions panel attorney and deputy chief staff attorney. She has also been an appellate staff attorney for Judges Anthony M. Wilhoit, Paul D. Gudgel, Michael L. Henry and James I. Howard. She most recently served as chief staff attorney for the court.

“Becky has served the Kentucky Court of Justice with distinction for many years,” Court of Appeals Chief Judge Denise G. Clayton said. “She is the ultimate professional and is committed to serving the court and the citizens of Kentucky. The Court of Appeals is fortunate that Becky will continue her service as the new clerk of the court.”

Lyon graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in politics and a minor in economics/accounting from Converse College in Spartanburg, S.C., and a juris doctor from the University of Kentucky College of Law, where she was a member of the Moot Court Board. She is a member of the Kentucky Bar Association’s Appellate Advocacy Division, The Central Kentucky American Inn of Court and the National Conference of Appellate Court Clerks.

She is married to her former law school classmate, James D. (Jim) Lyon, who is a bankruptcy trustee and attorney. They reside in Lexington and have three children and two granddaughters.

“I’m humbled and honored to serve as clerk of the Kentucky Court of Appeals,” Lyon said. “A lot has changed over the years, but one thing hasn’t – the important role the court plays in the lives of Kentuckians. The citizens of this commonwealth have disputes involving their families, their livelihood and their freedom. They trust the judges to fairly and impartially settle these disputes. It is our job as staff to assist the judges in seeing that these resolutions are expeditious and accessible. I look forward to continuing to work with the talented and dedicated people at the Court of Appeals.”

She succeeds Samuel P. Givens Jr., who retired as clerk Sept. 30 after 30 years with the court system.

October 31, 2019

Former South Carolina Chief Judge John Few Marries

From the New York Times: 

Stephanie Leonard Yarbrough and John Cannon Few were married Oct. 12 at St. Philip’s Church in Charleston, S.C. The Rev. Brian McGreevy, a minister in the Anglican Church of North America, performed the ceremony. 

Mrs. Few, 46, is a partner, in Charleston, in Womble Bond Dickinson, a law firm. She graduated from the College of Charleston, from which she also received a master’s degree in public administration. She also has a law degree from Southern Methodist University in Dallas. She is a member of the board of directors of the Charleston Regional Development Alliance, the South Carolina Aquarium and the South Carolina Biotechnology Innovation Organization. She is a daughter of Joanne Ingram Leonard and Thomas F. Leonard of Augusta, Ga.

Mr. Few, 56, is a justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court with chambers in Columbia, S.C. He graduated from Duke, where he served as the school’s athletic mascot, the Blue Devil. He also received a law degree from the University of South Carolina. He was previously the chief judge of the South Carolina Court of Appeals, and an adjunct professor at the University of South Carolina School of Law.


October 31, 2019

Minnesota Chief Judge Edward Cleary to retire in 2020

Minnesota Court of Appeals Chief Judge Edward J. Cleary will retire from the court on April 30, 2020, as the second-longest-serving chief in the history of the Court of Appeals. In a statement released on the day he joined chef judges from across the country in Denver for the Council of Chief Judges education conference, Cleary declared:

“It has been a great honor for me to serve the citizens of Minnesota as a member of the judiciary these past 17 years. My years as chief judge of the Court of Appeals will be among my fondest memories, thanks to my colleagues and the outstanding support staff here at the court. I look forward to joining my wife in retirement in the spring of 2020, as we get our chance to relax and travel, and perhaps I will return to writing and teaching as well.”

Cleary practiced law in St. Paul, his hometown, from 1977 to 1997, serving as a Ramsey County public defender from 1980 to 1995. In that capacity he successfully argued the case of RAV v. City of St. Paul before the United States Supreme Court in 1991, winning a unanimous decision described by the New York Times as “a decision of landmark dimension, a declaration in favor of more speech rather than less.” Cleary wrote an award-winning book on the case, “Beyond the Burning Cross: the First Amendment and the landmark R.A.V. case,” published by Random House, in 1994.


Cleary served as the director of the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility from 1997 to 2002, when he was appointed by Gov. Jesse Ventura to serve as a District Court judge in the 2nd Judicial District. As assistant chief judge of the 2nd Judicial District, he served on the Canvassing Board, which determined the outcome of the 2008 U.S. Senate election between Norm Coleman and Al Franken. Cleary served as a District Court judge until he was appointed to the Court of Appeals in 2011. Dayton later appointed him chief judge in 2013, and again in 2016.In addition to his judicial duties, Cleary was an adjunct professor at the University of Minnesota Law School, his alma mater, from 2000 to 2011.

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September 23, 2019

Retired Chief Justice Wright Receives Kidney Donation From Former Colleague

Retired chief justice of the 5th Court of Appeals in Texas, Carolyn Wright, received an extraordinary gift from former colleague David Evans–a transplanted kidney. Wright contracted pneumonia and sepsis, was on life support and in a coma for two months and suffered kidney failure. Other friends and family members offered to donate a kidney, but none matched. Evans was a perfect match. Evans told a local TV station, “I feel good donating my kidney to Carolyn. She’s a very brave and courageous woman to be fighting for her life.”

Wright said that she thinks that God is working through Evans.  “I think it’s a God thing,” Wright said. “I think that it is the God that is working in him that met the God in me, and I’m just so very, very grateful for that gift.” “It is my hope that Justice Evans’s extraordinary act of kindness will bring attention to the great need for organ donations and the vital need to raise awareness for this worthy cause,” Wright said in the statement.

Wright was the first African American chief justice on an intermediate Texas appeals court. She was on the appellate bench in Dallas with Evans for six years. She was an active member of the Council of Chief Judges of State Courts of Appeal.  She was inducted into the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame in 2014. Wright didn’t seek reelection in November, while Evans lost his reelection bid. He is now a judge with the 95th civil district court in Dallas.

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September 23, 2019

Texas Chief Justice Kem Frost Named Texas Outstanding Leader



Chief Justice Frost has been honored by the John Ben Shepperd Leadership Institute of the University of Texas Permian Basin with the Institute’s 2019 award for “Outstanding Texas Leader.” Chief Justice Frost has received numerous awards during her career, including the Presidential Commendation for “individual leadership in improving justice in Texas, presented by the State Bar of Texas. Justice Frost just marked two decades of service with the Texas judiciary.   She was appointed to the Texas Fourteenth Court of Appeals in 1999 by Governor George W. Bush and elevated to Chief Justice in 2013 by Governor Rick Perry. Before assuming the bench, she enjoyed a 15-year civil trial and appellate practice, with an emphasis on business litigation.

August 21, 2019

Judith McConnell Presented With 2019 Margaret Brent Award

Presiding Justice Judith McConnell of California’s Fourth Appellate District was one of five women selected to receive an award established by the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession in 1991 to celebrate female lawyers for their professional accomplishments and support of other women in the legal profession. The award is named in honor of Margaret Brent, the first female lawyer who arrived in the colonies in 1638.

Justice McConnell was a founder and first president of the Lawyers Club of San Diego, a feminist bar association that successfully advocated for the ratification by California of the Equal Rights Amendment. She was also a founder and served as president of the National Association of Women Judges.  She is a member of the San Diego Women’s Hall of Fame.

Receiving the award from American Bar Association President Bob Carlson at the ABA Annual Meeting in San Francisco, Justice McConnell remarked on the award’s meaning to her: “It means a lot. It is recognition for the many years that I have worked to improve the legal profession, both for women lawyers and for women in the community that we can better serve. And for men, because men are better served when the courts are fair and impartial.”

August 09, 2019

Mississippi Chief Judge Barnes Honored as Trailblazer

Mississippi Court of Appeals Chief Judge Donna M. Barnes, the first woman Chief Judge of the state Court of Appeals, is the recipient of the 2019 Susie Blue Buchanan Award. The annual award, presented by the Mississippi Bar’s Women in the Profession Committee, honors an outstanding woman lawyer who has achieved professional excellence and has actively paved the way to success for other women lawyers.

The award is named for Susie Blue Buchanan of Brandon, who in 1916 became the first woman lawyer qualified to practice before the Mississippi Supreme Court.

Chief Judge Barnes was appointed by Supreme Court Chief Justice Mike Randolph to lead the Court of Appeals in February 2019. She has served on the Court of Appeals for 15 years.

She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1982 from the University of Mississippi, summa cum laude, with majors in classical civilizations and English. She earned her Juris Doctor from the University of Mississippi School of Law, where she graduated magna cum laude in 1985. She is a member of the University of Mississippi Lamar Order. She practiced law in Tupelo for more than 18 years. A member of Magdalene College, she earned her Master of Law from the University of Cambridge in 1997.

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August 09, 2019

Louisiana Chief Judge Chehardy Appointed Supreme Court Justice Pro Tempore

The Louisiana Supreme Court has appointed Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal Chief Judge Susan M. Chehardy as justice pro tempore of the Louisiana Supreme Court, First District.   The appointment temporarily fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Justice Greg G. Guidry.   Chehardy’s appointment will be effective July 26, 2019 through December 31, 2019 or until the vacancy is filled, whichever occurs sooner.

Judge Chehardy  was elected to Division D of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal in October of 1998, the first woman to be elected to that Court. She was re-elected in 2002 and 2012. In January of 2013, she was sworn in to her new term as the first female Chief Judge of the Louisiana Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal.

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July 24, 2019

Garye Vásquez New Chief Judge Picked for Arizona Appeals Court

Judge Garye L. Vásquez of Casa Grande was elected by his colleagues to serve as chief judge for division two of the Court of Appeals. The division covers seven of the state’s fifteen counties. Vasquez has been a member of the appeals court since 2006. He succeeds Judge Peter Eckerstrom who completed five years as the court’s administrative head.

July 24, 2019

Former Chief Judge Draper Appointed Chief Justice Missouri Supreme Court

The second African-American judge to serve on Missouri’s high court iand the first to serve as Chief Judge on Missouri’s Court of Appeals is the Supreme Court’s new Chief Justice. In July 1994, Draper was appointed as an associate circuit judge of the 21st Judicial Circuit by Gov. Mel Carnahan. Four years later, Carnahan appointed Draper as a circuit judge for the 21st Judicial Circuit. In 2000, Draper was elevated to the Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District, for which he served as the first African-American chief judge from July 2004 through June 2005. A St. Louis native, he received his bachelor of arts in psychology in 1977 from Morehouse College in Atlanta and, following in the footsteps of his father and his wife, received his law degree in 1981 from Howard University in Washington, D.C. Prior to assuming the bench, he was a prosecutor in the circuit attorney’s office and has also served as an adjunct professor of law at St. Louis University.

June 27, 2019

Chris McFadden New Chief Judge Georgia Court of Appeals

Judge Christopher McFadden was sworn in as chief judge of the Georgia Court of Appeals. He was joined by his wife, Gordon State College Professor Linda Hyde, and their son Johnny, who held the Bible for his father.

He replaces Chief Judge Stephen Dillard for a two-year term. Dillard was recognized this year by the Georgia General Assembly for his social media communications. Dillard has 16,000 Twitter followers.

Former Chief Judge Sara Doyle gave McFadden the oath of office. Judge Carla Wong McMillian replaces McFadden as the court’s vice chief. McFadden gave her the oath of office after he had finished his. The changes take effect July 1.

McFadden said he is approaching the midpoint of his judicial career—“assuming I’m reelected in 2022.” He got a laugh when he added, “and I’d like to take this opportunity to announce my campaign.” McFadden was elected to the Court of Appeals in 2010 and took office in January 2011. He was reelected in 2016.

“Eight and a half years ago, I promised to remember that, while the office a big deal, I personally am not,” McFadden said. “I affirm that being called ‘your honor’ is not an entitlement, it’s a challenge.”

He said he still wears a robe belonging to his father, who was a longtime judge in Ohio.

McFadden in his remarks Tuesday said intelligence, patience and wisdom are important qualities for judges. “But the seminal virtue is courage. Without it, the others are pale, puny things,” he said. “It’s worth remembering that the most vile judicial act in the history of Western civilization—and the only sin called out in the creed of Christian churches—was an act of judicial cowardice.”

McFadden graduated from Oglethorpe University in Atlanta in 1980 and the University of Georgia School of Law in Athens in 1985. After that, he started a private practice focusing on appellate work, which he continued until his election to the bench.

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May 31, 2019

Nebraska Court of Appeals Holds Annual Session in Lincoln County

Chief Judge Frankie Moore of North Platte, center, presided over a three-judge panel’s oral arguments during the Nebraska Court of Appeals’ annual session in the Lincoln County Courthouse district courtroom. Joining Moore on the panel were Judges Michael Pirtle of Omaha, left, and Riko Bishop of Lincoln. Once a year, Frankie Moore’s job lets her stay home in North Platte.

In a brief interview before the opening session, she said she’s still energized by her work after 19 years on the court — even though “that Interstate can get scary.” “I don’t have any plans at the current time” to retire, said Moore, 60, who first moved to North Platte to practice law in 1983. “I enjoy my job, and I want to keep doing it for the foreseeable future.”

Founded in 1991 after voter approval of a state constitutional amendment, the six-member Court of Appeals was designed from the start to keep both its judges and their formal sessions closer to the Nebraskans they serve. It divides into two three-judge panels every two months to hear cases, shuffling the panels’ lineups each time, Moore said.

North Platte has long been a regular stop on the court’s annual circuit, she said. Other regular stops are Kearney, Norfolk, Papillion, Omaha and the court’s home courtroom in Lincoln’s State Capitol. In addition, the appeals court occasionally hears arguments on Nebraska’s college and university campuses, she said. A three-judge panel will visit Concordia University in Seward in September to mark Constitution Day.

Unlike the seven Nebraska Supreme Court judges, Court of Appeals judges maintain home offices in their districts as well as in the Capitol. She welcomes the court’s chances to educate Nebraskans about the different role appeals judges play in deciding a case. Whereas county or district court sessions can involve jurors and many other players, oral arguments typically involve the appeals judges, a lawyer for each side and a 10-minute clock. Moore and her fellow judges already know the case’s trial record and have researched the legal issues, she said. The oral arguments allow attorneys to stress particular points or judges to break in with questions about matters they’re uncertain about.

“We’re not trying to be rude by our interruption of their 10 minutes, but we want to get to the heart of the matter,” Moore said.

Sometime after the arguments, one member of the panel is assigned to write the opinion. But all three judges critique and review the decision, she said, and “on occasion, the other two can persuade the author-judge to a different way.” The panel’s ruling is the final word on a case unless the losing side can persuade the Nebraska Supreme Court to take another look, Moore said. The high court takes only two types of cases directly: criminal cases involving death or life imprisonment and any case involving whether a particular state law is constitutional.

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May 31, 2019

Former Colorado Chief Judge Sternberg dies at age 93

Alan L. Sternberg, a former Colorado Court of Appeals judge who served as chief judge for nine years, died Friday, May 24, at home in Englewood. He was 93. Sternberg was appointed to the state Court of Appeals in 1974, and he served the court until 1998. During his long service, Sternberg authored more than 1800 opinions, including 568 published opinions and 56 published dissents.

Born on Feb. 13, 1926, in Worcester, Mass., Sternberg joined the Army, at age 18 in 1944, during World War II. Serving in the 95th Infantry Division, Sternberg fought in France and Germany. Wounded in combat, Sternberg received a Purple Heart, Bronze Star and Combat Infantry Badge as part of his service. After the army, Sternberg received a bachelor’s degree from Northeastern University in Boston. He moved to Boulder, with his wife, Natalie, and enrolled in the University of Colorado law school. Sternberg graduated from CU in 1950 and moved to Littleton, where he practiced law.

From 1959 to 1974, Sternberg served as the city attorney in Littleton. He was an attorney with the Littleton Urban Renewal Authority from 1966 to 1974. Sternberg was among a group of people involved in establishing the location of Arapahoe Junior College, now Arapahoe Community College. In 1973, the Littleton Independent recognized Sternberg as its public servant of the year. In 1998, Sternberg received the William Knous Award in recognition of outstanding achievement and service by a CU-Boulder alumnus. He was a private arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association

April 19, 2019

Indiana Court of Appeals holds court at DePauw University

On April 15, DePauw University students, faculty and staff, and local citizens had an opportunity to see first hand the workings of the appellate justice system. As it has each spring for more than a decade, the Indiana Court of Appeals came to DePauw and held a session which the public was invited to attend.

A three-judge Court of Appeals panel heard oral arguments and thereafter answered questions from the audience. It marked the fourteenth time in the last 15 years that the Court of Appeals has come to DePauw in visits hosted by the department of political science.

The three-judge panel conducting the oral arguments consisted of Margret G. Robb, the first woman to serve as Chief Judge of the Indiana Court of Appeals; Terry A. Crone. a 1974 graduate of DePauw; and Edward W. Najam Jr.

Read about Indiana’s program of traveling oral arguments. As described on its website: “The Court has conducted more than 500 Appeals on Wheels in 84 counties since its 2001 centennial, although the program predates the centennial …

“Traveling oral arguments, or Appeals on Wheels, take the court across Indiana to help Hoosiers learn more about the judiciary’s indispensable role in Indiana government. They also provide opportunities for Court of Appeals judges to meet and talk with a broad range of citizens in relatively informal settings.”

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April 08, 2019

Chief Judge Lisa Neubauer loses bid for Wisconsin Supreme Court.

Wisconsin Court of Appeals Judge Brian Hagedorn has claimed victory against Court of Appeals Chief Judge Lisa Neubauer in the state’s very close Supreme Court election. Both jurists are currently appeals court judges. Hagedorn beat Neubauer for outgoing liberal Justice Shirley Abrahamson’s seat by just 5,962 votes, or roughly half a percent, Wisconsin Public Radio reports. Neubauer was regarded as the “liberal” candidate while Hagedorn was the “conservative” candidate.

With nearly 6,000 votes separating the two jurists, it is extremely unlikely that a meaningful shift in the vote would occur if Neubauer calls for a recount. In any event, with official certified numbers still a few weeks away, the 2019 election will still go down in the record books as one of the most closely decided races for the office in Wisconsin Supreme Court history. Hagedorn’s margin of .0495% is tighter than 121 of 125 state Supreme Court races since the 1850s.

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March 21, 2019

Michael P. Gibbons Named Chief Judge of the Nevada Court of Appeals

The Nevada Supreme Court has named Michael P. Gibbons as the Chief Judge of the Nevada Court of Appeals to complete the unexpired term of former Chief Judge Abbi Silver, who joined the Supreme Court in January. Chief Justice Mark Gibbons [the new Chief Judge’s brother] did not participate in this decision.

Judge Michael P. Gibbons was selected as a judge for the Court of Appeals by former Governor Brian Sandoval in December 2014. Judge Gibbons previously served as the inaugural Chief Judge of the court for its first two years.

Judge Gibbons had served as a District Judge for twenty years at the time of his appointment to the Court of Appeals. He was elected to the Ninth Judicial District Court in 1994 and was reelected four consecutive times. Judge Gibbons had presided in nine different counties throughout Nevada as a visiting judge during his tenure on the district court bench including for Clark County in each year from 1995-2004.

Judge Gibbons received his bachelor’s degree from the University of California at Los Angeles and his law degree from the University of Idaho College of Law.

March 18, 2019

Historic First – Three Women Comprise Alaska Court of Appeals

For the first time in Alaska history, three women comprise Alaska Court of Appeals following the installation of Judge Bethany Harbison, of Fairbanks, making it the first time in the state’s history that all three seats are filled by women. The first appointee to the appeals court from Fairbanks, she joins judges Marjorie K. Allard and Tracey Wollenberg, both of Anchorage. Harbison served as a Fairbanks Superior Court Judge for six years and was appointed to the appeals court by Gov. Bill Walker. She replaces Chief Judge David Mannheimer, who retired in February due to age restrictions.

Alaska Supreme Court Justice Susan Carney presided over Harbison’s installation. “She joins Marjorie Allard . . . and Tracey Wollenberg on one of the very few all-woman courts anywhere in the United States,” Carney said. “I’m especially proud to have that kind of court in Alaska.”

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March 14, 2019

Chief Judge Dillard Honored for Social Media Education

Georgia Court of Appeals Chief Judge Stephen Dillard uses Twitter to educate people about the judicial process. His goal is to get the younger generation more engaged in American government and to mentor young law students. “There have been a lot of judges that are joining social media…because they see the power of good that can happen when judges are on social media using it to educate. There’s a lot of negative on social media but there is also a lot of positive,” he explained. Dillard said he hopes other political leaders will follow his tracks and use their platforms to inspire younger generations as well. Judge Dillard has served on the state court of appeals for the last nine years. The Georgia House of Representatives honored Dillard with the twitter laureate award in January for his use of social media to connect with the Georgians that he serves

February 07, 2019

California Presiding Justice Judith McConnell Honored by ABA

The Margaret Brent award, given each year by the American Bar Association Commission on Women is named after the first woman lawyer in America, who arrived in the colonies in 1638. It recognizes and celebrates the accomplishments of women lawyers who have excelled in their field and have paved the way to success for other women lawyers. Justice McConnell, the Administrative Presiding Justice of the Fourth District of the California Court of Appeal in San Diego, is one of five women recognized this year. She will receive the award at a luncheon during the ABA Annual Meeting in San Francisco, California on Sunday, August 11, 2019.

A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of California and the UC Berkeley School of Law, Justice McConnell has been involved in a host of law related activities during a judicial year spanning 40 years, including 23 years on the trial bench where she was twice elected presiding judge by her colleagues, and 17 on the California Court of Appeal. She is a former president of the National Association of Women Judges and an active member of the Council of Chief Judges of State Courts of Appeal. The Margaret Brent award is the latest addition to a long list of awards that includes Jurist of the Year by the California Judicial Council, and the Benjamin Aranda Access to Justice Award presented jointly by the California Judicial Council, the California Judges Association and the State Bar of California.

January 30, 2019

W.Va. Legislature Considers New Intermediate Appellate Court

A bill that would establish mid-level appeals courts in southern and northern West Virginia was introduced recently in the West Virginia Legislature. A similar bill was considered last year. The Supreme Court provided a fiscal note that estimated a cost of $11.7 million and included several objections to the intermediate court proposal. The state Supreme Court hasn’t budgeted to account for a new intermediate court of appeals, but its justices aren’t necessarily against it. The Supreme Court’s estimate of its cost this year was $7.6 million. The estimate the Supreme Court offered this year reflects the bill as it is, the Supreme Court’s Chief Justice noted, but could change if the proposal changes.

She said “the Constitution vests in you, the Legislature, the authority to determine whether an intermediate court is feasible,” Walker said. But she said justices would like to be involved with planning for the intermediate court if lawmakers decide to go ahead with it. The intermediate court would have the power to review final judgments in civil cases from circuit court, in cases from family court or administrative law hearings. The intermediate court would not review the outcomes of criminal cases.

(Picture: Chief Justice Beth Walker discusses the Supreme Court’s budget alongside House Finance Chairman Eric Householder)

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January 30, 2019

Donna Barnes New Mississippi Court of Appeals Chief Judge

Chief Judge Barnes will be the first woman to lead the state Court of Appeals. And, for the first time in its 24-year history, four of the 10 Mississippi Court of Appeals judges are women. Presiding Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Michael K. Randolph appointed Barnes to the chief judge post, and remarked: “Judge Barnes, by her training, tenure and temperament, is the obvious choice to lead the Court of Appeals. She is well-suited to take on the additional duties of chief judge. She is a legal scholar. Her private practice experience focused on appellate advocacy, and she has 14 and a half years of experience on the bench.” Barnes will replace Judge T. Kenneth Griffis of Ridgeland as chief judge. Gov. Phil Bryant appointed Griffis to a vacancy on the Supreme Court effective Feb. 1.

Gov. Barbour appointed Judge Barnes to the appellate court on July 26, 2004. She was elected in November 2006, and re-elected in November 2010 and November 2018. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Mississippi, summa cum laude, with majors in classical civilizations and English. She earned her Juris Doctor from the University of Mississippi Law School. In 1996, she took a sabbatical to study law at the University of Cambridge. She was one of three American students in the LL.M. program which that year admitted 152 attorneys from 48 countries. She earned her Master of Law from the University of Cambridge in 1997.

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January 28, 2019

Florida 3d Dist Chief Judge Barbara Lagoa Named to Florida Supreme Court

Judge Lagoa was the first Cuban-American woman to serve on Miami’s appeals court. Gov. Ron DeSantis made the announcement in front of Miami’s Freedom Tower, a symbol for Cuban immigrants arriving in South Florida. Lagoa, 52, becomes the first Hispanic woman to serve on the court. In emotional remarks at the Freedom Tower Lagoa — whose parents fled Cuba over five decades ago when Fidel Castro’s Communist dictatorship took over — mentioned that her father “had to give up his dream of becoming a lawyer.”

Lagoa grew up in Hialeah, graduated from Florida International University and got her law degree at Columbia University, where she served as an associate editor of the Columbia Law Review. Governor DeSantis called her credentials “impeccable.” Florida House Speaker Jose Oliva, R-Miami, called the selection a “judicial home run.”She is married to Paul Huck Jr., an attorney and the son of senior Miami federal judge Paul Huck Sr. She and her husband have three children. By law, one of the selections for the state Supreme Court must be from either Miami-Dade or Monroe counties. Lagoa was appointed to the Third District Court of Appeal in 2006 by then Gov. Jeb Bush. It was DeSantis’ first selection for Supreme Court justice in what is expected to be a conservative makeover of the state’s highest court. The Republican governor later appointed Robert Luck, 39, a former Miami federal prosecutor and circuit court judge who also recently served on the 3rd District Court of Appeal.

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January 28, 2019

Kevin Emas Unanimously Elected Chief Judge of Florida’s Third District

Judge Emas succeeds Chief Judge Barbara Lagoa who was appointed a justice of the Florida Supreme Court by Gov. Ron DeSantis on January 9. He is the 19th chief judge of the Third District Court of Appeal since the court was established in 1957 and will serve in this capacity until June 30, 2021. He will be responsible for all administrative matters of the court.

Judge Kevin Emas has been appointed to the judiciary by three different governors. Gov. Lawton Chiles appointed Emas to the Miami-Dade County Court in 1996. Five years later, Gov. Jeb Bush appointed Judge Emas to the 11th Circuit and on November 24, 2010, Gov. Charlie Crist appointed Judge Emas to the Third DCA. He received his J.D. (cum laude) from the University of Miami, School of Law in 1982, where he served as an editor of the University of Miami Law Review. He was a member of the Law School Honor Court and the Order of Barristers. Judge Emas received his B.A. (with honors) from the University of Florida in 1979

January 04, 2019

Dori Contreras Elected Chief Justice in Texas

The Texas 13th Court of Appeals welcomed its first woman to be elected Chief Justice. Dori Contreras is a Rio Grande Valley native, PSJA ISD graduate, with 16 years of service on the court. Contreras is now the second Latina statewide elected for this position.

Discussing the significance of her election, she said.

“One thing that has always been important to me as a lawyer, ultimately when I became a judge is speaking to students at high school and college here at the local university. Talking to them of course of the importance of their education and trying to set a good example for them of someone that’s growing up here in the Valley just like them. That through some hard work and dedication we can accomplish goals that you set and pursue dreams, so I try to encourage that. It’s important for me to do that specially for young women, young Latinas.”

Contreras says she is proud of the work the court does and is looking forward to making improvements.

January 04, 2019

Two Wisconsin Appeals Court Judges in Race for Supreme Court.

Two Wisconsin appeals court judges will face each other in April for a seat on the state Supreme Court.

Brian Hagedorn and Lisa Neubauer — both members of the Waukesha-based District 2 Court of Appeals are vying to replace retiring Justice Shirley Abrahamson.

Neubauer filed her paperwork in December and Hagedorn did so just prior to the deadline for getting on the April 2 ballot.

Hagedorn is a former chief legal adviser to outgoing Gov. Scott Walker and was appointed to the appeals court by Walker in 2015. Neubauer, who has been chief judge of the district since 2015, has won the backing of Democrats and 150 judges and has hired the same team that helped elect liberal Rebecca Dallet to the Supreme Court in 2018. Conservatives have a 4-3 majority on the court. The April election could keep that balance in place or widen conservative control to 5-2.

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December 28, 2018

Kenny Griffis Appointed to Mississippi Supreme Court

Gov. Phil Bryant has selected Court of Appeals Judge Kenny Griffis of Ridgeland to replace William Waller Jr. on the Mississippi Supreme Court. Waller has announced that he is retiring Jan. 31. Under Mississippi law, the Supreme Court justice with the longest tenure assumes the post of chief justice – and head of the entire state judiciary. When Waller retires, Southern District Justice Michael Randolph of Hattiesburg will assume the post of chief justice. The chief justice of the Supreme Court appoints the chief judge of the 10 member Court of Appeals. Griffis was scheduled to be sworn as chief judge in January, replacing Court of Appeals Chief Judge L. Joseph Lee upon his retirement. Governor Bryant also announced he is naming state Rep. Cory Wilson, R-Madison, to fill Griffis’ seat on the Court of Appeals.

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December 28, 2018

Marla Graff Decker elected chief judge of Virginia Court of Appeals

Judge Marla Graff Decker has been elected chief judge-elect of the Virginia Court of Appeals to succeed Chief Judge Glen A. Huff. She will begin her four-year term on Jan. 1. Decker was elected by a majority of the court’s judges on Nov. 27. She was appointed to the state Court of Appeals on Nov. 1, 2013, and elected by the Virginia General Assembly to an eight-year term in January 2014.

Judge Decker began her legal career in 1983 in the Criminal Litigation Section of the Office of the Attorney General, handling criminal appeals and habeas corpus litigation. She later served as section chief of the Special Prosecutions Section and then as deputy attorney general of the Public Safety and Enforcement Division. Immediately prior to assuming the bench Decker served as Virginia’s secretary of public safety. Decker received her undergraduate degree from Gettysburg College and her Juris Doctor from the University of Richmond School of Law, where she presently serves as an evening adjunct professor.

The state’s Court of Appeals has 11 judges. It provides appellate review of final decisions by circuit courts in domestic relations matters, as well as appeals related to decisions of administrative agencies, traffic infractions and non-capital criminal cases as well as final decisions of the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission.

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December 03, 2018

Felicia Williams Named Chief Judge Louisiana Second Circuit

Judge Felicia Toney Williams has been sworn in as chief judge of Louisiana’s Second Circuit Court of Appeal. In 1992 Judge Williams became the first woman elected to the Louisiana Second Circuit Court of Appeal, and now becomes the Circuit’s first female chief judge. Williams has served four years on the Louisiana Judiciary Commission, including serving as its chair this year. She also completed a term as chairman of the Louisiana Conference of Court of Appeal Judges this year. She is married to Attorney Moses J. Williams and they have three children, Rhonda, Myra and Justin. The Second Circuit, one of the five state appeals courts in Louisiana, serves 20 parishes: Bienville, Bossier, Caddo, Caldwell, Claiborne, DeSoto, East Carroll, Franklin, Jackson, Lincoln, Madison, Morehouse, Ouachita, Red River, Richland, Tensas, Union, Webster, West Carroll and Winn.

December 03, 2018

Art Scotland Presented With Christenson Award in Washington D.C.

Seen here with Justice Clarence Thomas and Michael Schwartz, Dean of the University of the Pacific McGeoge Law School, Scotland received the Inn of Court’s highest award during a ceremony at the United States Supreme Court. Scotland, the former presiding justice of the California Court of Appeal, Third Appellate District, retired from the court after 21 years to become Of Counsel to the law firm of Nielsen Merksamer where he specializes in government law. He had previously served on the Sacramento Superior Court and served as Cabinet Secretary to Governor George Deukmejian as California Deputy Attorney General and Sacramento County Deputy District Attorney. He graduated with honors from the McGeorge School of Law in 1974 and was elected to serve on the university’s board of regents.

Scotland has been a leader in the American Inns of Court for decades. An Emeritus member of the Anthony M. Kennedy American Inn of Court, he has been on the Inn’s executive committee for more than 20 years, chairs the membership committee, and served as a master of ceremonies at the Inn’s 30th anniversary celebration. As a member of the American Inns of Court Judicial Task Force, Scotland helped to identify the benefits and challenges of judicial participation in Inns and proposed a strategy and techniques for recruiting and retaining judges as Inn members. For years, Scotland has organized and hosted a visit to Sacramento for British barristers as part of the Pegasus Scholarship Trust exchange program between the United States and the United Kingdom. He speaks frequently to Inn and student groups about civility in public and professional discourse. He is a former president of the Council of Chief Judges and was inducted into the Council’s Hall of Fame.

November 09, 2018

Incumbents Ousted in Texas Judicial Races

Partisan judicial races can lead to partisan outcomes but few expected the dramatic defeat of 19 incumbent Republican appellate judges in Texas.

The turnabout in Democratic party fortunes was centered in the state’s urban, liberal areas, but those areas include neighboring counties whose suburban and rural voters have in recent years delivered wins to Republicans. Democrats won by elevating their victories in the cities and reducing their margins of defeat in neighboring suburban and rural counties. Judicial races in Texas like most states are not generally hotly contested. But straight party line voting aided the victory. Rodolfo “Rudy” Delgado narrowly won the 13th Court of Appeals Place 4 race after the Hidalgo County Democratic Party put up billboards urging residents to vote “straight ticket Democrat.” According to news reports, the party placed signs outside polling sites pushing for the straight ticket option that featured photos of every local Democratic party candidate in a competitive race, with the exception of Delgado, who is under indictment on federal bribery charges.

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The state’s two highest courts, Texas Supreme Court and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals remain totally Republican

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September 10, 2018

President May Receives Distinguished Service Award

Judge Melanie May, who serves on the Fourth District Court of Appeals in Florida is the recipient of the National Center’s Distinguished Service Award. Judge May started as a circuit court judge in Broward County in 1991 before moving to the court of appeals in 2001. She served as chief judge of the appellate court from 2011 to 2013.

While on the Broward bench, she distinguished herself by overseeing one of the nation’s first drug courts, focusing on getting treatment to nonviolent offenders. As a lawyer and a judge, she is known as thoughtful, hard-working and always prepared.  She also has earned a reputation for looking for ways to improve the justice system.

As evidence of that commitment, she is on the Supreme Court of Florida’s Steering Committee on Treatment-Based Drug Courts, has served on the Advisory Council to the Office of Drug Control since 1999, and is a member of the Reentry Task Force and the Trial Court Performance and Accountability Committee.  On a national level, Judge May served as a member of the National Association of Drug Court Professionals and of the Council of Chief Judges of State Courts of Appeal, chairing numerous committees and now serving as its president.

September 10, 2018

Arthur G. Scotland receives American Inns of Court Award

Art Scotland, retired Presiding Justice of California’s Third District Court of Appeal and former president of the Council, has been selected to receive has been selected to receive the 2018 A. Sherman Christensen Award. The Award was announced by Executive Director Malinda Dunn of The American Inns of Court and will be presented at the American Inns of Court Celebration of Excellence at the Supreme Court of the United States on the evening of October 20, 2018. Justice Scotland currently serves of counsel with the firm of Nielsen Merksamer Parrinello Gross & Leoni, LLP in Sacramento, California, and remains active in in a host of law related activities, including the American Board of Trial Advocates and the Council of Chief Judges as a well as numerous charitable and civic activities in Sacramento and elsewhere.

July 30, 2018

Judge Robb Receives Bar Association’s Civility Judge Award

The Indiana State Bar Association announced that Judge Margret Robb received its 2018 Civility Judge Award. The award recognizes recipients for outstanding civility and professionalism in their dealings with fellow judges, attorneys, parties, witnesses, and the public.

Robb attained bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business economics from Purdue before attending Indiana University’s Robert H. McKinney School of Law.

Her career includes many accomplishments. In 2011, Robb became the first woman to serve as the chief judge of Indiana’s Court of Appeals in the Court’s more than 100 year history. She has acted as an officer and board member of the Indiana State Bar Association, the fellows of the Indiana State Bar Foundation, Tippecanoe County Bar Association, National Association of Women Judges and the Council of Chief Judges of State Cours of Appeal.

She was first appointed to the court of Appeals in July 1998 by then-Gov. Frank O’Bannon.

Robb will officially receive the award at a luncheon on Aug. 30, 2018.

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July 30, 2018

Jim Humes New Administrative Presiding Justice in California

Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye has announced her designation of Justice Jim Humes as Administrative Presiding Justice of the First Appellate District in San Francisco. Justice Humes previously made history by becoming the first openly gay justice appointed to serve on the California Court of Appeals.

Governor Jerry Brown appointed Justice Humes to the First Appellate District in 2012. He joined the court as an associate justice in Division Four, and in 2014 was elevated to presiding justice of Division One. In a Court of Appeal with more than one division, the Chief Justice may designate a presiding justice to act as administrative presiding justice. The administrative presiding justice supervises the court’s day-to-day operations, overseeing matters that include personnel, budget, and facilities.

Justice Humes holds a law degree from the University of Denver, a master’s degree in social science from the University of Colorado, and a bachelor’s degree from Illinois State University. Before joining the Court of Appeal, Justice Humes served for two years as Governor Brown’s executive secretary for legal affairs, administration, and policy. Before that, Justice Humes served as the chief deputy for then-Attorney General Jerry Brown, where he managed the California Department of Justice—an agency that employed more than 5,000 people, including 1,100 attorneys. Justice Humes previously served as the chief assistant for the civil division and held management and supervisory positions in the health, education & welfare and correctional law sections of the attorney general’s office. Justice Humes began his career in public service in the Colorado Attorney General’s Office where he was first appointed to be a deputy in the regulatory law section, and later became a senior assistant attorney general in the tort litigation section. In addition to his public sector work, he also practiced law in private Colorado firms.

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July 10, 2018

Denise Clayton Appointed Chief Judge in Kentucky

Judge Denise Clayton has become the first African American to serve as the chief judge of the Kentucky Court of Appeals. She was elected by her fellow judges in June and has assumed her new role. Her role entails providing administrative oversight to the court while hearing cases on appeal from lower courts. A trail blazer, Judge Clayton was appointed to the Court of Appeals in 2007 where she became the first black woman to serve on the court. And years earlier, she was the first black woman to be a circuit court judge in Kentucky. Judge Clayton graduated cum laude with a bachelor’s degree from Defiance College in Defiance, Ohio. She earned her juris doctor degree from the University of Louisville’s Brandeis School of Law. She began her legal career as an attorney with the Internal Revenue Service. She later worked at the University of Louisville as the director of student legal services and maintained a private practice. She was the Legal Aid Society of Louisville’s associate director before becoming a Jefferson County District Court judge in 1996. Among her many awards, Judge Clayton was selected as the 2012 recipient of the Distinguished Judge Award by the Kentucky Bar Association.

July 10, 2018

Mary Greenwood, California Administrative Presiding Justice

Mary J. Greenwood is the recently appointed Administrative Presiding Justice of the Sixth District Court of Appeal, where she has served as an associate justice since 2017. Greenwood served as a judge of the Santa Clara County Superior Court from 2012 to 2017. Before assuming the bench, she served as a deputy and later assistant public defender from 1982 until 2005. In 2005, she was appointed Santa Clara Public Defender, serving until her judicial appointment in 2012. She was also an attorney at Coblentz, Patch, Duffy and Bass LLP in 2001 and an associate at the Boccardo Law Firm in 1997. Justice Greenwood earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Grinnell College.

June 29, 2018

Peter Siggins Appointed Presiding Justice in California

Peter J. Siggins has been appointed presiding justice, Division Three of the First District Court of Appeal. Siggins has served as an associate justice at the First District Court of Appeal since 2006. Prior to that He served in the Governor’s Office as Legal Affairs Secretary and interim Chief of Staff, and before that, as California’s Chief Deputy Attorney General. He earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Loyola Marymount University and was in private practice before entering government service with the Attorney General’s Office.

June 19, 2018

Joan Bernard Armstrong, First Female Elected Louisiana Judge Passes

When Judge Armstrong was elected to the Orleans Parish Juvenile Court bench in 1974, she was the first female and first African-American woman elected judge in the state. She later served as chief judge of the state’s Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal. Judge Armstrong died in New Orleans on June 9, 2018. In 2011, Judge Armstrong announced her retirement from the bench after 37 years, which made her the longest-serving judge in Louisiana at the time. A graduate of Xavier University and Loyola University Law School, she was elected without opposition to the appeals court in 1984, as that court’s first female jurist. She became chief judge in 2003.

During her tenure on the bench, Judge Armstrong was chairman of the Louisiana Conference of Court of Appeal Judges from 2004 to 2005 and was also a member of the Judiciary Budgetary Board; Judicial Ethics Committee; Judicial Human Resources Committee; Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Criminal Justice.

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June 19, 2018

Chief Judge Lisa Neubauer Mulls Wisconsin Supreme Court

Wisconsin Court of Appeals Chief Judge Lisa Neubauer is reported to be considering a Spring 2019 run for the seat of retiring Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Shirley Abrahamson. Potential opponents include Jefferson County District Attorney Susan Happ and Second District Appeals Court Judge Brian Hagedorn.

Neubauer graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1979. Prior to attending law school, she worked as an aide to state Senator Fred Risser. Neubauer graduated from the University of Chicago Law School where she was a member of the Order of the Coif. Following graduation, she was a law clerk to Judge Barbara Brandriff Crabb on the United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin and thereafter joined the Milwaukee law firm Foley and Lardner, specializing in environmental cleanup litigation. In December 2007, she was appointed by Democratic Governor Jim Doyle to a seat on the Wisconsin Court of Appeals and was the first woman to serve on District II. She was later elected to a full term in a contested election. In 2009, Neubauer was appointed presiding judge of District II and in 2015 the Wisconsin Supreme Court appointed Neubauer chief judge of the Court of Appeals.

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April 16, 2018

CCJSCA Hall of Fame Nominations Invited

Chief Judge David Enoch of Colorado is the founder of the Council of Chief Judges and a member of the Council’s Hall of Fame. The Nominating Committee, chaired by immediate Past President Judge Bill Murphy, is seeking nominations of individuals like Judge Enoch who are deserving of recognition and honor for their notable extraordinary services to the CCJSCA. The eligibility requirements are as follows:

  1. Shall have been a CCJSCA member for a minimum of five years, if a judge, or provided significant and substantial service to the Council for at least five years, if not a judge.
  2. Shall have provided extensive service to the CCJSCA that advanced the CCJSCA mission in a unique and extraordinary manner over and above the performance of those duties specifically assigned to members and officers by the CCJSCA’s Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws.
  3. May have, in addition to his or her CCJSCA service, other notable accomplishments that bring honor and distinction upon the CCJSCA.
  4. May be retired or deceased.
  5. May not be a regular, associate or provisional CCJSCA member.

Although not awarded annually, the Hall of Fame recognition is the highest honor the Council bestows on worthy recipients and no one is better situated to make a recommendation than our members themselves. Generally speaking it is thought that most inductees would come from Life Members of the Council who are defined in the bylaws as “A judge not currently serving on a Court of Appeal who has been previously a Chief Judge of a Court of Appeal and a Regular Member of the Council.” So please give it some thought and forward your recommendations to our Association Manager, Lynn Kuderka ( no later than June 1, 2018.

April 03, 2018

Kansas Chief Judge Honored with Distinguished Alumni Award

Chief Judge Karen Arnold-Burgerof the Kansas Court of Appeals will be honored during a private dinner April 7 in Lawrence and presented with the University of Kansas School of Law’s 2018 Distinguished Alumni Award. The Distinguished Alumni Award celebrates graduates for their professional achievements, contributions to the legal field and service to their communities and the university. Judge Arnold-Burger began her judicial career in 1991 as a municipal judge for the city of Overland Park after serving as a prosecutor and assistant United States attorney for the District of Kansas. Thereafter, Governor Mark Parkinson appointed her to the Kansas Court of Appeals in 2011. Chief Justice Lawton Nuss named her chief judge in 2017. She received the Kansas Bar Association’s Distinguished Service Award in 2016. Arnold-Burger earned a bachelor’s degree in political science, psychology and personnel administration in 1978 and a law degree in 1982, both from the University of Kansas.

March 08, 2018

Nevada Chief Judge Abbi Silver Wins Seat on Nevada Supreme Court

Nevada Court of Appeals Chief Judge Abbi Silver has won one of two open seats on the Nevada Supreme Court after no one filed against her. The remaining seat drew five candidates, requiring a primary election to whittle them down to two and then a November general election. When asked why would one nonpartisan seat draw only one person and the other five, Silver said: “I’m a hard worker, end of story,” Judge Silver has a history of scaring off opponents with her relentless fundraising ability and her strong campaign skills. She will step into retiring Justice Michael Douglas’ seat without enduring the anxiety and fundraising efforts of a campaign. Silver’s lack of opponents went unnoticed by the news media when filing ended Jan. 12, and she said she’s reluctant to broadcast it beyond friends because “until it’s in the newspaper, it doesn’t seem real.” Judge Silver received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. In 1989, she received her Juris Doctor degree from Southwestern University School of Law in Los Angeles, California. From 1994 until 2003, Judge Silver was assigned to the Special Victim’s Unit of the District Attorney’s Office. In 2003 She was elected to the Las Vegas Municipal Court; in 2006, to the Las Vegas Justice Court; and in 2009 to the District Court. In 2015, following her nomination by the Nevada Judicial Selection Committee, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval appointed Silver to the Inaugural Court of Appeals of Nevada where she currently sits.

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March 08, 2018

Judge Jill Johanson’s Husband Dies in Ski Accident

It is with deep regret that we write of the death of Patrick Kubin, husband of our colleague from Washington, Judge Jill Johanson. He was killed in an unlikely skiing accident on Washington’s Mount Hood February 22. Patrick, a long-time Longview, Washington lawyer, advocate for disadvantaged children, and community booster was on his last run of the day at Mount Hood Meadows when his ski bindings inexplicably released and he flipped into a hole in the snow. Kubin was an expert, lifelong skier. Judge Johanson and Kubin met as law students at University of Willamette College of Law in Salem, where Kubin graduated in 1986. That same year the couple moved to Longview, where Kubin practiced as a defense attorney and, more recently, served as a Cowlitz County court commissioner. Besides his enthusiasm for skiing and the outdoors, Kubin enjoyed writing novels and short stories and was involved in Wordfest, a gathering of writers. He was a member of the Sandbaggers group, which sponsors Longview’s annual Squirrel Fest and is known for its red seersucker suits and playful appearances at community events. He also was president of the Children’s Community Resources, which helps get health care for low-income children. President Melanie May is preparing formal condolences to Judge Johanson on behalf of the Council

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March 07, 2018

Chief Judge Michael Talbot Retires from Michigan Court of Appeals

The chief judge at the Michigan Court of Appeals, an active member of the Council, is retiring after 40 years on the bench. Michael Talbot was first appointed to the bench in 1978 by Gov. William Milliken. After 20 years, he was promoted to the appeals court by Gov. John Engler and won a series of elections. He was appointed the chief judge of the court in 2014, replacing former Council president Bill Murphy. Talbot said in a statement that his career was shaped by a willingness to “say ‘yes’ to opportunities, to new experiences, and the chances to learn and grow.” Former Michigan Chief Justice Robert Young, who selected Talbot to set up the state’s Court of Claims and later to serve as a special judicial administrator to address severe backlogs and administrative problems of the 36th District Court, praised the retiring judge: “He is ‘an extraordinarily talented jurist, and unlike most judges he has superior administrative abilities.” Talbot said Monday he’s stepping down on April 25. Gov. Rick Snyder will have an opportunity to pick a successor.

Talbot received a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University and earned his law degree from the University of Detroit.

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March 07, 2018

Texas 3rd District Court of Appeals Race Features Money, Hot Button Issues.

It is not often that a judicial race features money from out of state contributors and positions on national political issues. The race for a slot on 3rd District Court of Appeals in Texas is an exception. Mike Toth, a special counsel to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and a candidate in the race has collected over $151,000 in the Republican primary and more than a third of it comes from out of state. His campaign materials espouse positions on voter fraud, religious liberty, President Trump’s travel ban, extreme vetting of refugees, sanctuary cities, and rolling back federal regulations. Former Texas Supreme Court Justice Tom Phillips, a Republican, said he’d “never seen anything quite like” the mailer Toth sent out. The 3rd District Court of Appeals, whose six members are all Republicans, hears important state government and regulatory cases. Its 24-county jurisdiction includes Travis County, where the Capitol, top politicians’ offices and major government agencies are located. Rice University political scientist Mark Jones said the source and size of Toth’s donations, plus his overt embrace of conservative policy positions, all make his campaign unusual. But Jones calls it a logical outgrowth of forcing judges into the same partisan primary environment that candidates for governor, the Legislature or Congress face. “It’s a natural evolution of having direct election for judges,” Jones said. “If the post exercises power, then it makes perfect sense for people who want to influence the direction of power to give money there.”

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February 21, 2018

Welbaum Elected Presiding Judge Ohio 2nd District

Judge Jeffrey M. Welbaum of Troy, Ohio was elected Presiding and Administrative Judge of the Ohio Second District Court of Appeals for 2018 by his fellow judges. He joined the Court of Appeals in February 2013. Before his election to the appellate bench, he was a General Division Miami County, Ohio Common Pleas Judge from 1995 to 2010 and was its Drug Court Judge for eight years. He graduated Cum Laude with a B.S. degree from The Defiance College in 1974. After working his way through law school, he graduated from the Ohio Northern University Pettit College of Law in 1977. Prior to his judicial service, he was in the private practice of law, was an Assistant Miami County Prosecuting Attorney, an Assistant Miami County Public Defender, a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney and, for 10 years, was the elected Miami County Prosecuting Attorney.

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February 21, 2018

Texas Chief Justice Ann McClure Honored

Texas Women Lawyers presented its 2018 Pathfinder Award to Ann C. McClure, chief justice of the 8th District Court of Appeals. The award is given annually to an individual who has championed the advancement of women in the law and who exemplifies professionalism, leadership and commitment to the public interest. McClure is the first female chief justice in the 100-year history of the 8th Court of Appeals of Texas.

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January 25, 2018

Elizabeth A. Garry Sworn in as N.Y Presiding Justice

Elizabeth Garry, who has served in the Appellate Division since 2009, was appointed by Governor Andrew Cuomo on New Year’s Day as Presiding Justice for the Appellate Division for the Third Judicial Department and was sworn in on January 17. She is a graduate of Alfred University and was awarded a JD degree with honors from Albany Law School. After serving four years as a law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Irad Ingraham, she entered the private practice of law for 11 years until her election to the Supreme Court in 2006. Garry’s predecessor was the first woman to serve as presiding justice in the Third Department in 2012, and Garry herself will be the first openly lesbian presiding justice in the state.

The Appellate Division is New York State’s intermediate level appellate court. It hears appeals from trial courts. Decisions of the Appellate Division are reviewed by the Court of Appeals, the State’s highest court. The Appellate Division, Third Department, located in Albany, is one of four Appellate Division Departments.

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January 25, 2018

Adele Hedges, Former Chief justice of Texas 14th Court of Appeals Dies

Adele Hedges, a former chief justice of the 14th Court of Appeals in Houston died of heart failure on January 24, 2018. Hedges graduated from the University of Houston in 1968 and then earned a masters and PhD from Rice, all in French literature. A year later, she graduated summa cum laude from the University of Houston Law Center. She practiced with Fulbright & Jaworski, and served as general counsel for a real estate company before joining Porter & Clements as of counsel. She was thereafter elected to the First Court of Appeals in Houston before being appointed chief justice of the 14th Court of Appeals. She retired in 2013 and opened an appeals and mediation practice in Houston. She and her husband, also a prominent lawyer, had planned to relocate to New Hampshire.

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November 19, 2017

Everett Inbody Announces Retirement

Everett O. Inbody, a long time member of the Council of Chief Judges who serves on the Fifth Appellate Court Judicial District of Nebraska has announced his retirement after almost 32 years of judicial service. A member of the Council’s Executive Committee, Judge Inbody was appointed to the Court of Appeals in 1995 and served as Chief Judge for 10 years. He was named “Outstanding Judge”, the highest honor given by the Chief Justice to members of the judiciary. Judge Inbody is a graduate of the University of Nebraska and the University of Nebraska College of Law.

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October 09, 2017

Journal of Appellate Practice and Process

By special arrangement with the University of Arkansas Little Rock, issues of the Journal of Appellate Practice and Process are now available in the Learning Center. See link under “Learning Center” on the home page.

October 09, 2017

Membership Brochure Released

A new brochure has been designed to promote the benefits of membership and participation in the Council of Chief Judges.

Click here to view

September 20, 2017

Texas Chief to Keynote Red Mass Celebration

Chief Justice Sandee B. Marion of the Texas Fourth District Court of Appeals will be the keynote speaker at this year’s Red Mass held in the district. The Red Mass is a Mass celebrated annually in the Catholic Church for judges, lawyers, law school professors, law students, and government officials. It originated in 13th century France, gradually spread to other parts of Europe and was first celebrated in the United States in New York City on Oct. 6, 1928. The Mass coincides with the opening of the October term of the U.S. Supreme Court . The Diocese of Laredo, federal and state judiciaries, as well as officials and bar associations from the seven counties composing the diocese, Webb, Maverick, Dimmit, Zavala, La Salle, Zapata and Jim Hogg county, come together to plan and celebrate the Red Mass each year.

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September 13, 2017

Hurricane Irma Closes Florida Courts

Florida courts closed Friday in anticipation of Hurricane Irma and some remained closed on Wednesday, after the hurricane passed. Courthouses in the 7th Judicial Circuit will remain closed Wednesday by order of Chief Judge Raul A. Zambrano.

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August 31, 2017

Texas Courts Crippled by Hurricane Harvey

Federal and state courts along the Texas Gulf Coast have closed their doors and suspended all operations as a result of Hurricane Harvey. The Texas Supreme Court and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals on Monday issued an emergency order to allow the courts affected by the disaster to suspend regular court procedures and deadlines. All courts in Texas must view any disaster-caused delay as good cause to modify deadlines and procedures in any case, civil or criminal. The order is effective for one month.

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August 18, 2017

Female Majority on Utah Court of Appeals

The Utah Court of Appeals for the first time has a majority female membership — four women and three men. Replacing male judges, two new female appointees took seats on the Appeals Court this month — assistant U.S. attorney Diana Hagen and 3rd District Judge Ryan Harris. The new judges joined Michele Christiansen, David Mortensen, Gregory Orme, Jill Pohlman and Kate Toomey on the bench. With a female majority, younger people don’t look at a spot on the bench as a “token seat,” Pohlman said. Mortensen said upcoming generations will see the judiciary as a pathway open to everyone. And Christine Durham, who became the state’s first female trial court judge in 1978 and the first woman to serve on the Utah Supreme Court four years later, called the new majority a historical milestone: “It sends a message that women in the courts, the legal profession and society are recognized as having important roles to play in public service.” Nationally, about 31 percent of state court judges in the United States were female in 2016, according to the National Association of Women Judges. In Utah male judges outnumber women 151 to 48. About a fourth of the Utah State Bar membership is female.

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August 14, 2017

Rothenberg New Chief Judge Florida’s Third District

Judge Leslie B. Rothenberg was appointed Florida’s Third District Court of Appeal’s new chief judge. She replaces Judge Richard Suarez whose term ended in July. She was appointed to the Third District in January 2005, after serving eleven years on the Circuit Court. She began her legal career in 1986 as a prosecutor in the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office where she quickly ascended to chief of the felony division before her election to the Circuit Court in 1992. During her tenure as Chief Judge, Judge Rothenberg will be overseeing the multi-million dollar renovations to the Third District Court of Appeal courthouse, and serving as the Chair of the Florida Conference of District Court of Appeal Judges, for the 2017-2018 term.

July 11, 2017

Chief Scott Kafker Nominated To Mass. Supreme Court

Governor Charlie Baker and Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito today announced the nomination of Massachusetts Appeals Court Chief Justice Scott Kafker to serve as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court (SJC).

“ We are confident that, if confirmed, Chief Justice Kafker’s nearly three decades of service and his knowledge and commitment to the law will be a welcome addition to one of the nation’s leading appellate courts,” said Governor Baker. “

A graduate of Amherst College and the University of Chicago Law School, Kafker clerked for U.S. District Court Judge Mark Wolf. He was deputy chief legal counsel for Governor William Weld, and then served as chief legal counsel for the Massachusetts Port Authority before Governor Paul Cellucci appointed him to the state’s second highest court in 2001.

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June 21, 2017

Chief Justice Carolyn Wright to be Honored for Integrity, Professionalism

The Texas Center for Legal Ethics announced that Chief Justice Carolyn Wright of the Texas Fifth District Court of Appeals will receive the 2017 Chief Justice Jack Pope Professionalism Award. The award is presented each year to a judge or attorney who personifies the highest standards of professionalism and integrity in the field of law. “Chief Justice Wright has been a shining example of professionalism throughout her long and distinguished career,” said Dallas attorney Beverly Godbey, Chair of the Board of Trustees of TCLE. “Not only has she blazed trails and set an example for all who follow in her footsteps, she has done so with elegance, dignity and a firm dedication to the betterment of our profession.”

A graduate of Howard University School of Law, Chief Justice Wright’s judicial service spans over 30 years and includes authorship of thousands of legal opinions on every facet of the law. She has been honored by a host of legal and civic organizations, and is a recent inductee into the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame.

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June 19, 2017

Judge Susano Receives Outstanding Judge Award

The Tennessee Bar Association and its Executive Committee have chosen Judge Charles D. Susano, Jr. as the 2017 recipient of the Justice Frank F. Drowota, III Outstanding Judicial Service Award. This award is given to a judge or judicial branch official of a federal, state or local court in Tennessee who has demonstrated extraordinary devotion and dedication to the improvement of the law, our legal system, and the administration of justice as exemplified by the career of Justice Frank F. Drowota, III.

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May 24, 2017

California Presiding Justice Paul Turner Dies

Paul Turner, Presiding Justice of Division 5 of the Second District of California’s Court of Appeal, passed away on May 18, 2017 at the age of 69 following almost 35 years on the bench, 28 of which were served on the Court of Appeal, almost all as Presiding Justice. Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye remarked on his passing: “He was a force of nature in his approach to the law, his work ethic, with a real zest for life. I will always remember his razor wit, his collegiality, and his optimism.” His service on the court of appeal was applauded by a host of colleagues and appellate attorneys.

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April 21, 2017

Lynn Kuderka Appointed New Association Manger For Chief Judges

Lynn Kuderka has been appointed as the Association Manager for the Council of Chief Judges of the State Courts of Appeal, the position most recently held by Tiffany Mitchell and, before her, long-time Association Manager, Brenda Williams. Tiffany recently resigned to accept a new position more accommodating to her status as the mother of a newly born child. Lynn will assume her new position on May 1, 2017.

Lynn has worked for the NCSC’s Institute for Court Management Division since 2011. Before coming to NCSC, Lynn managed the undergraduate Fulbright grant application process for Princeton University. Her extensive background and experience coordinating events and supporting the Dean of the college uniquely prepares Lynn to move into the CCJSCA Association Management position. Lynn can be reached at . She assumes her position just in time to join the Executive Committee in San Antonio and will be introduced to the general membership at the Annual Meeting in Lexington. Please contact her for any support or information you may need.

April 10, 2017

Former Florida Chief C.Alan Lawson Joins Florida Supreme Court

C. Alan Lawson, a graduate of Florida State University Law School and formerly Chief Judge of Florida’s 5th District Court of Appeal, was formally sworn in as a justice on Florida’s Supreme Court on April 5, 2017. He was Governor Rick Scott’s first appointee and the news media have portrayed him as a conservative on a court dominated by liberals. Politics notwithstanding, Lawson is well liked and has been lauded by judges of all persuasions including a “liberal” colleague, Barbara Pariente who called him “kind, collegial, open minded and humble.”

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April 06, 2017

C.J.Linda McGee, Ex-Homecoming Queen, Returns To Her Roots

As a student at Marion High School, Chief Judge Linda McGee served on the news staff for the school’s newspaper. She was also crowned Homecoming Queen in 1965 for Marion High School. Chief Judge Linda McGee, 67, formerly of Marion, serves on the North Carolina Court of Appeals. She has been on the court for 22 years, and is only the second woman to have served as chief. Before that, she practiced law in Boone for 17 years after earning her degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. McGee now commutes to Raleigh and other places where courts are held from her home at the Outer Banks, where she lives with her husband and their dogs. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family and their 21-month-old grandson. But no matter how far she has come, she is still a proud product of her small-town upbringing in McDowell County, where much of her passion for the law began. She grew up in the mill villages of East Marion. Her mother retired after 50 years at the American Thread Company. Developing a strong community of professional women has always been a priority in her life. She is one of the co-founders of the N.C. Association of Women Attorneys. She has received numerous accolades and awards, and served on boards supporting women across the state. McGee’s husband and two sons were supportive, and in 1995 she was appointed by Hunt, then elected to an eight-year term in 1996, and re-elected in 2004. In 2014, she was named chief judge.

Her thoughts on the Court of Appeals and recollections from her life are set forth in a recent newspaper interview:

March 15, 2017

GOP Proposal to Reduce Size of North Carolina Court of Appeals

Three bills in the North Carolina legislature would block or rescind judicial appointments by Democratic Governor Roy Cooper. All three bills were approved on party lines, 7-6, morning with little debate and less public comment by the House Judiciary IV Committee. House Bill 239 would reduce the size of the state Court of Appeals from 15 judges to 12. The reductions would come as judges retire. Under current law, Cooper would appoint replacements to serve the remainders of their terms. With the change, Cooper will not be able to make any appointments. The panel also approved legislation to take away the governor’s power to appoint judges to fill the vacancies on the District Court , and to appoint special Superior Court judges. Instead, all of those appointments would be made by state lawmakers in the annual appointments bill.

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March 06, 2017

Texas Women Lawyers Honor Chief Justice Carolyn Wright

The Honorable Carolyn Wright, Chief Justice of the 5th District Court of Appeals in Dallas has been honored with the 2017 Texas Women Lawyers Pathfinder Award. The Pathfinder Award is given each year to an individual who has championed the advancement of women in the law and who exemplifies professionalism, leadership, and commitment to the public interest. A Texas judge for more than 30 years with civil, family, criminal, and mediation experience, Chief Justice Wright served as a practicing attorney, Dallas County associate judge, and state district judge before being appointed as a Justice on the Court of Appeals by Governor George W. Bush in 1995. She was the first African American to be appointed a Chief Justice of a Texas intermediate appellate court and the first woman to win a multi-county election for any state elected office. She leads the largest intermediate court in Texas and one of the busiest courts in the nation. She is a recent inductee into the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame and Governor Bush presented her with the Yellow Rose of Texas Award for significant contributions to her community.

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January 23, 2017

Iowa Court of Appeals Celebrates Forty Years

Forty years ago this month, the newly formed Iowa Court of Appeals heard oral arguments and issued opinions for the first time. The Iowa Legislature created the five-member court to ease the overcrowded Iowa Supreme Court docket. At the time, it was taking about two years for the supreme court to process appeals. In September, 1976, then Iowa Governor, Robert D. Ray, appointed the first five judges to the court. The court of appeals first heard oral arguments January 17, 1977. Then, on January 28, 1977, the court filed its first set of opinions. In 1983, the Iowa Legislature expanded the court of appeals to six members. At that time, the court began to hear and decide cases in three-judge panels but continued to conference all cases as a group, or en banc. In 1999, the court was again expanded to its current structure of nine judges meeting in panels of three. The conferencing of all cases en banc was discontinued except in limited circumstances.

The current court is presided over by Chief Judge David Danilson. The court reviews all civil and criminal actions, postconviction remedy proceedings, and small claims actions transferred to it by the supreme court. In its first year the court of appeals filed 327 opinions. The number of cases transferred to the court of appeals has steadily increased and, in 2016, the court filed 1,390 opinions, the largest number in its forty-year history. On average each judge authored over 140 opinions. A decision of the court of appeals is final unless the supreme court grants further review.

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January 03, 2017

Florida Judge Jay Cohen selected to replace Justice Alan Lawson

Jay P. Cohen, a judge on the Florida Fifth District Court of Appeal, has been selected to serve as Chief Judge of the court. He replaces Chief Judge C. Alan Lawson who was appointed to the Florida Supreme Court. Judge Cohen was appointed to the court by Governor Charlie Crist in January 2008 and retained by voters in 2010 and 2016. His current term expires in 2023. Cohen earned his B.A. in English in 1974 from the University of Florida and his J.D. in 1978 from the University of Florida College of Law. He began his legal career in Sarasota County and then served as a prosecutor in Orlando from 1980 to 1982, when he entered private practice. In 1990, Republican Governor Bob Martinez appointed Cohen to the county court bench. He was appointed to the circuit court by Democratic Governor Lawton Chiles in 1993, where he served in the domestic relations, juvenile, criminal, and civil divisions until his 2008 appointment to the Fifth District Court of Appeal.

January 03, 2017

Chief Judge C.Alan Lawson Selected For Florida Supreme Court

Charles Alan Lawson, chief judge of Florida’s 5th District Court of Appeal (seen here with Florida Governor Scott) has been selected to replace Justice James Perry on the Florida Supreme Court. Lawson was one of three finalists recommended by the Supreme Court Judicial Nominating Committee. Perry, 72, who is retiring because of constitutionally mandated age limits. was considered to be part of a trio of liberal-leaning justices on the court. The candidates recommended to Scott all said they would have a more conservative approach on the bench. Scott was required to choose a justice from the 5th District Court of Appeals, which includes 13 counties, mostly in central Florida but also St. Johns, Flagler and Putnam.

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December 12, 2016

Florida Chief Judge C.Alan Lawson Finalist For Florida Supreme Court

The Chief Judge of Florida’s Fifth District Court of Appeal is one of only three persons nominated by the Florida Supreme Court Judicial Nominating Commission for appointment by the Governor. The Commission interviewed eleven candidates. The Governor must select from the three persons nominated. Lawson graduated from Florida State University Law School in 1987 with highest honors. He was a Jeb Bush appointee to the Fifth District Court of Appeal in 2006; a circuit judge in the Ninth Circuit, 2002 – 2005; assistant county attorney for Orange County, 1997 – 2001; general counsel, Verses Wear, Inc., 1996; and associate & partner, Steel Hector & Davis, Miami and Tallahassee, 1987 – 1995.

December 09, 2016

Karen Arnold-Burger Selected Chief Judge of Kansas Court of Appeals

The Kansas Supreme Court selected Judge Karen Arnold-Burger to serve as chief judge of the 14-member state appeals court beginning January 9. She succeeds Chief Judge Thomas J. Malone, who will continue to serve on the appeals court after his four-year term as chief judge ends. “The Supreme Court is pleased that Judge Arnold-Burger will assume this leadership position for the Court of Appeals,” said Chief Justice Lawton Nuss. “She’s a skilled judge with a record of many professional accomplishments. We look forward to working with her in this new capacity.” Before she was appointed to the Court of Appeals in 2011, Arnold-Burger was a municipal court judge and then presiding municipal court judge in Overland Park, Assistant U.S. Attorney in Kansas City, Kansas, and First Assistant City Attorney for the City of Overland Park. She is a graduate of the University of Kansas School of Law, where she previously served on the Board of Governors.

November 23, 2016

Former Georgia Chief Judge Herbert Phipps Prepares to Retire

Georgia Court of Appeals Presiding Judge Herbert Phipps, its former chief judge, will leave office at the end of November, one month before he reaches the state-mandated retirement age of 75. Gov. Nathan Deal’s announcement of a successor is imminent. The graduate of Morehouse College, and Case Western Reserve University Law School, who also holds a Master of Laws degree from the University of Virginia School of Law, was applauded for his years of judicial service:

“His leaving is going to be a huge loss for this court. He is irreplaceable,” said Chief Judge Sara Doyle. “There isn’t going to be somebody who has experienced all that he has.”

“His life is the American story in one person,” said Judge Nels Peterson, who spent his first year on the court serving on a panel with Phipps presiding, placed there by the chief judge to benefit from that experience.

Judge Stephen Dillard, who will succeed Doyle as chief judge next year, added: “Judge Phipps is a once-in-a-generation jurist, and he will leave an indelible mark on our court and the state. He has been (and will continue to be) a champion for civil rights, the rule of law and the common good, and I will miss him more than I can express in words.”

Phipps practiced law in Albany, Georgia, and served as a magistrate and juvenile court judge in Albany until 1995, when Gov. Zell Miller appointed him to the Dougherty County Superior Court bench. He was appointed to the Court of Appeals in 1999.

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November 23, 2016

Rita Gruber Appointed Chief Judge of Arkansas Appeals Court

Court of Appeals Judge Rita Gruber of North Little Rock has been appointed to serve a four-year term as chief judge of her court effective January 1. Outgoing Supreme Court Chief Justice Howard Brill and his successor, Chief Justice-elect Dan Kemp, announced the appointment in a joint statement. Kemp said he suggested that Brill select Gruber, and the two decided to issue a joint news release. Kemp said he has known Gruber for 25 years. “I’m well familiar with her judicial abilities as well as her administrative talents,” Kemp said. “I think she’ll do an outstanding job.”

Gruber replaces Chief Judge Robert Gladwin, who has served as Chief Judge since 2012. Gladwin will continue to serve as one of the court’s 12 judges. Gruber was selected by the Pulaski County justices of the peace to serve as interim county judge in 1989, when both she and her husband, Wayne Gruber, worked as Quorum Court attorneys. She served in the role until 1991. She later served as a circuit judge in the 6th Judicial Circuit before being elected to the Court of Appeals in 2008.

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November 09, 2016

Kansas Judges Survive Challenge by Abortion Opponents

Abortion opponents campaigned to oust Kansas Supreme Court justices and four state Court of Appeals judges in Tuesday’s election over a ruling that critics fear could endanger many abortion restrictions. Kansans for Life included the Court of Appeals judges in mailings to thousands of households. Other conservatives joined in the ouster effort, though it received much less attention than the campaign against Supreme Court justices. All of the challenged judges were re-elected.

November 09, 2016

Mixed Election Results For Appellate Judges in Kentucky, Ohio , New Mexico

Court of Appeal Judges had mixed results in races held in Kentucky, Ohio and New Mexico. Kentucky Court of Appeals Judge Larry VanMeter easily defeated fellow Judge Glenn Acree (both pictured above), a member of the Council of Chief Judges , in the contest for an open Kentucky Supreme Court seat. Republicans Pat DeWine and Pat Fischer, who practiced with the same Ohio law firm and later served together on the First District Court of Appeal in Ohio, appeared to win election to separate seats on the Ohio Supreme Court. In New Mexico, former court of appeal judge Judith Nakamura won election as an incumbent on the New Mexico Supreme Court, defeating Michael Vigil, Chief Judge of the New Mexico Court of Appeals, while attorney Julie Vargas defeated Stephen French, an incumbent on the court of appeal, who had only recently been appointed to that court.

November 07, 2016

The Appellate Court Innovation e-catalog is now available!

The National Center For State Courts has worked with the Council of Chief Judges and a collaboration of state appellate groups, including the Conference of Chief Justices, to develop an electronic catalog of innovative practices and technological applications for use by state appellate courts. See details in the Learning Center.

October 27, 2016

Judge Nancy Vaidik Re-elected Chief Judge Indiana Court of Appeals

The 15 judges of the Indiana Court of Appeals have elected Chief Judge Nancy Vaidik, of Valparaiso, to a second three-year term as their leader. Vaidik was appointed to the Court of Appeals in 2000 by Democratic Gov. Frank O’Bannon. She has been retained twice for 10-year terms in 2002 and 2012. The Valparaiso University and Valparaiso School of Law graduate worked in private practice, served as chief deputy prosecutor and later trial court judge in Porter County before joining the Court of Appeals. Vaidik has said she views the Court of Appeals existing “at the intersection of theoretical and practical law,” and believes the court must “embody the highest degree of fairness and impartiality” by ensuring all litigants have the finest possible legal advocates. She strives to craft legal writing that is “distinguished by logical construction and clear, explanatory prose.”

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October 27, 2016

Chief Justice Wright Acts To Remove Impaired Colleague

Texas 5th Court of Appeals Chief Justice Carolyn Wright recently acted to address problems with an associate justice’s depression and alcohol abuse. Wright’ssworn affidavit raising concerns about the fitness of Judge Davis Lewis to hold office led The State Commission on Judicial Conduct file a removal action Lewis resigned and agreed to never serve as a judge again. He had spent almost a year on unpaid leave and had not performed duties since September 2014. The affidavit alleged that he was physically and mentally unfit to do the job, that he failed to treat the other justices and court staff in a “courteous manner,” that he improperly delegated judicial decision-making to court staff and that he failed to perform the duties of the office which caused a delay in judicial decisions.

For more about dealing with judges in distress, see the New Chiefs Toolbox

September 19, 2016

John Irwin Announces Retirement

Nebraska Court of Appeals Judge, John F. Irwin, has announced his intention to retire on November 1, 2016. Writing to the Governor, Irwin stated: “I have enjoyed my 24 years on the court immensely and have had great satisfaction in taking on the challenges given to me as one of the original members of the Court of Appeals.” Irwin was appointed in 1991 when the Court of Appeals was first formed. He served as Chief Judge of the court from 1998-2004. According to Chief Court of Appeals Judge Frankie Moore, “As a member of the Court of Appeals since its inception, Judge Irwin has been instrumental in establishing a court culture aimed at serving the citizens of our state through the timely rendering of well-reasoned decisions. He has worked tirelessly to improve our court processes to make the appellate system of justice both efficient and transparent for the parties and public. Irwin has been a prominent figure in Nebraska legal circles throughout his legal career and advanced the cause of the judiciary and access to justice as a member of the Court of Appeals and as the National Chair of the 2012 Annual Conference of the National Consortium on Racial and Ethnic Fairness in the Courts . He has been a mainstay in the Council of Chief Judges, serving as president of the Council in 2004.

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September 19, 2016

Minnesota Court of Appeals Chief Judge Edward Cleary Reappointed

Minnesota Court of Appeals Chief Judge Edward Cleary has been appointed to a second term by Gov. Mark Dayton.

Cleary was appointed to the appeals court in 2011, and in 2013 was appointed as the court’s chief judge. Prior to his appointment to the appeals court, Cleary served as the assistant chief judge for the Second Judicial District where he was appointed by Gov. Jesse Ventura in 2002.

“Chief Judge Cleary has demonstrated a strong commitment to Minnesota throughout his career and as a member of the judiciary,” said Dayton.

His second term will begin on Nov. 1 and end on Oct. 31, 2019.

August 29, 2016

Upcoming Georgia Chief Declines Supreme Court Consideration

Stephen Dillard, in line to become Chief Judge of the Georgia Court of Appeals, announced on Twitter that he will withdraw his name from consideration for one of three open positions on the Georgia Supreme Court. He wrote that he has decided “after a great deal of prayer and consideration” not to pursue appointment to the high court and to continue his service on the intermediate court—”an institution I dearly love.” Dillard has 6,274 followers on Twitter, which he uses to comment on colleagues’ birthdays, music, quotes, bedtime stories he reads to his children and landscapes near his home in Macon, where he spends weekends.

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Read his tweet:
Judge Dillard (@JudgeDillard) | Twitter

August 15, 2016

Gene Thibodeaux Interviewed in Louisiana Bar Journal

Chief Judge Thibodeaux recalls his graduation from Tulane Law School, time with the Legal Defense Fund in New York and private practice before being elected to a seat on Louisiana’s Third Circuit Court of Appeals where he continues to sit. He also noted two drastic changes since he began practicing law: the expanded use of technology and the increase in diversity.

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July 22, 2016

Joy Kramer Elected Chief Judge Kentucky Appellate Court

Judge Joy A. Kramer was sworn in as chief judge of the Kentucky Court of Appeals following election by her colleagues of the court for a four year term beginning July 1. Chief Judge Glenn E. Acree administered the oath in the courtroom of the Court of Appeals building in Frankfort. A ceremonial oath of office was later administered on July 20 at the U.S. District Courthouse in Covington by her longtime mentor William O. Bertelsman, senior judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky. Judge Kramer graduated magna cum laude from Morehead State University after which she taught special education for seven years before attending Northern Kentucky University Salmon P. Chase College of Law where she again graduated magna cum laude. She and her husband, Brian Kramer, have four children and six grandchildren.

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July 22, 2016

Pfeiffer elected Chief Judge of the Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District

The eleven judges of the Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District have elected Mark D. Pfeiffer to a two year term as chief judge effective July 1, 2016. Pfeiffer was appointed to the Western District in May 2009 after receiving a degree in accounting from Westminster College in Fulton and a law degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia, and following 17 years of private practice. He was appointed by Governor Jay Nixon

June 22, 2016

Lockemy Selected Chief Judge of South Carolina Court of Appeals

The South Carolina General Assembly, with bipartisan support, chose Judge James E. Lockemy as only the fifth Chief Judge of the South Carolina Court of Appeals. The Court was created by statute in 1983 and later was included in the state constitution. It consists of a Chief Judge and eight associate judges. A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Pembroke and the University of South Carolina Law School, Lockemy served as an Army Airborne officer after graduating from law school, and then worked as Legislative Assistant to U.S. Senator Strom Thurmond before entering private practice. He was elected as a Circuit Judge in 1989. After 18 years on the circuit bench, Lockemy was elected to the Court of Appeals in 2008. Since 1995 he has been one of the representatives of the state judiciary to the ABA Conference of State Trial Judges. He serves as a Colonel in the South Carolina National Guard and is currently is working to complete his Master’s Degree in Judicial Studies from the University of Nevada, National Judicial College.

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June 22, 2016

Tom Emberton Inducted Into Western Kentucky University Hall of Distinguished Alumni.

Judge Tom Emberton, Sr, a retired chief judge of the Kentucky Court of Appeals, will be inducted into Western Kentucky University’s 25th class of the Hall of Distinguished Alumni on Oct. 21 during the 2016 Homecoming celebration. Emberton, a 1958 WKU graduate, came to WKU after four years with the United States Air Force. He was elected president of his class two years in a row and president of his fraternity, the Thirteeners, later renamed Delta Tau Delta. He was also business manager of the College Heights Herald. In 1959, he attended the University of Louisville School of Law before being admitted to the Kentucky Bar in 1962. Early in his career, Emberton practiced law in Metcalfe County before he was recruited as executive assistant to Gov. Louie B. Nunn. In 1987, he was appointed to the Kentucky Court of Appeals by Gov. Wallace Wilkinson. He was re-elected twice and in 2002 as chief judge of the Court of Appeals.

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June 22, 2016

Sergio A. Gutierrez Loses Idaho Supreme Court Bid

Sergio A. Gutierrez , former Chief Judge of the Idaho Court of Appeals, came in third out of five candidates for the elected position on the Idaho Supreme Court. Gutierrez was defeated by Robyn Brody and Curt McKenzie. He was appointed to the Court of Appeal by former Republican Governor Dirk Kempthorne in January 2002 and was sworn into office in February 2002. Gutierrez was most recently re-elected to the court in May 2014 for a term that expires in January 2021.

June 03, 2016

Minnesota Court of Appeals Chief Finalist for Supreme Court

Chief Judge Edward Cleary is one of three candidates whose names were forwarded to Governor Mark Dayton on June 2, 2016, by the Minnesota Commission on Judicial Selection. Dayton is not obliged to choose from the Commission’s list though he has typically done so. After serving as the Director for the Minnesota Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility, Cleary was appointed to the Ramsey County District Court in 2002. He was appointed by Governor Dayton to the Minnesota Court of Appeals in 2009 and appointed Chief Judge in 2013.

Dayton’s office said he would make his selection after interviewing the finalists over the next few weeks.

May 06, 2016

Retired Chief of Massachusetts Appeals Court Honored

Phillip Rapoza, who retired as Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Appeals Court in 2015, was honored on May 4 by the Massachusetts Bar Association for his work on the international judicial stage. He received the 2016 Daniel F. Toomey Excellence in the Judiciary Award in ceremonies at the Marriott Long Wharf Hotel. Honored with him was Boston Herald reporter Bob McGovern, who received the Excellence in Legal Journalism Award. “While leading the Appeals Court, Chief Justice Rapoza ushered in an era of openness and transparency by expanding its sessions to the four corners of the commonwealth,” said MBA Chief Legal Counsel Martin W. Healy. “As a true missionary for justice and the rule of law, Rapoza selflessly took on international criminal justice work in developing countries on behalf of the United Nations. In short, he has created an impressive legacy both here and beyond our borders,” Healy said.

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April 26, 2016

Former Utah Presiding Judge James Davis Passes

Former Utah Court of Appeals Presiding Judge James Z. Davis died on February 27 at the age of 72. Judge Davis was appointed to the Utah Court of Appeals in November 1993. He served two terms as Presiding Judge and retired in November 2015. He received his law degree from the University of Utah College of Law in 1968. He served in military intelligence in the U.S. Army until 1970. Judge Davis was in private practice from 1971 to 1977, served as Deputy Weber County Attorney and Weber County Police Legal Advisor from 1973 to 1982, was a partner in Thatcher, Glasmann & Davis from 1977 to 1982, and a shareholder and director at Ray, Quinney & Nebeker from 1982 until his appointment to the bench. Judge Davis was president of the Utah State Bar from 1991 to 1992, served as Bar representative on the Utah Judicial Council, and was also selected by the court of appeals on three occasions to serve as that court’s representative on the Utah Judicial Council. In 2014, Judge Davis received the Lifetime Service Award from the Utah State Bar. Davis is survived by his son, James Z. Davis III; daughter-in-law, Chrystal; granddaughter, Macey; Carr; and Carr’s daughter, Annie.

Judge Davis was a member of the Council’s Membership and Administration of Justice Committees. A resolution, approved by the Council’s Executive Committee and signed by President William Palmer, recalled that Judge Davis “was a great judge and friend with a wry sense of humor and zest for life,” and that he “personified grace and enthusiasm with his hard work and sharp legal mind, leaving a legacy of true and lasting friendships.” The resolution also expressed the Council’s condolences to his family , and “our thanks for sharing him with us and with the Law.”

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April 21, 2016

Sergio Gutierrez Runs For Idaho Supreme Court

Hon. Sergio Gutierrez, a former Chief Judge of the Idaho Court of Appeals who has over 20 years of judicial experience, hopes to become a justice on the Idaho Supreme Court . Supreme Court Chief Justice Jim Jones announced in March that he would not seek re-election. Three attorneys thereafter announced their candidacies. Judge Gutierrez is the only judge in the race. Gutierrez was born in Mexico, raised in poverty in California and New Mexico , and dropped out of school at the age of 16. He later entered community college after earning his GED, and went on to graduate from the University of California Hastings College of Law. Idaho is one of only two states without a woman or racial minority on its Supreme Court.

The election of Judge Gutierrez would change that. The primary election is on May 17. Should no contender receive a majority vote, a runoff would take place in November.

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April 06, 2016

New Mexico Court of Appeals Marks 50 Year Anniversary

April 1, 2016 marked the 50th anniversary of the creation of the New Mexico Court of Appeals.

Prompted by the state Supreme Court’s growing case load, the state legislature proposed and the voters approved a constitutional amendment creating the court in 1965. The court conducted its first oral argument in December 1966, and its first opinion was filed on Dec. 12, 1966. Fifty years after the first appeal was filed with the court, appeal number 35,450 was just docketed. Since 1966, 42 judges have served on the court. Of those 42, 10 have been women. The jurisdiction of the court was initially limited. The range of cases heard by the Court has steadily increased and the court has developed innovative methods to deal with its burgeoning case load. It pioneered the use of recorded trial proceedings in lieu of typed transcripts, developed a summary calendar system for cases that it believes can be resolved without full briefing. Nationally acclaimed, the system now accounts for almost 60 percent of the court’s decisions. A significant percentage of the court’s cases are also resolved through its in-house mediation program.

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April 06, 2016

JoAnne Kloppenburg Loses Wisconsin Supreme Court Race

The incumbent, Rebecca Bradley, was appointed to the court by Republican Gov. Scott Walker in October to replace the late N. Patrick Crooks. Kloppenburg is a presiding judge on the state court of appeals. Bradley will serve a 10-year term. “We did all that we set out to do,” Kloppenburg told supporters as she conceded the race, “except for the ‘coming out ahead’ part.” As has been the case in recent Supreme Court races, conservative groups are supporting one candidate and liberal groups are supporting the other. Bradley was the conservatives’ candidate. Walker also appointed Bradley to the Milwaukee County Court in 2012 and to the District I Court of Appeals in May.

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March 23, 2016

President Palmer’s Trip To Cuba

President Obama traveled to Cuba recently. Our president went there before him for a humanitarian purpose. Here is a picture (yes, it’s tiny) of President Bill Palmer in Cuba last year with his mission team from Florida’s Tomoka Christian Church, including the Cuban pastors who worked with them. President Palmer’s mission team distributed beans and rice to the poor while they were in Cuba.

March 23, 2016

Council Member, Judge Matthew Stevenson Retiring

“It’s been a great job,” he said. “It’s been one of the highest privileges and honors of my life. It’s hard to walk away from. But there’s a lot of things I’d like to do.”

Chief Judge Cory Ciklin called Stevenson “the patriarch” of the appeals court that hears cases out of six counties, including Palm Beach, Broward and Martin. While Judge Martha Warner has served longer, Stevenson earned the moniker because of his demeanor.

“He’s rock steady. He’s always prepared. He’s objective to a fault,” Ciklin said. “He’s universally respected by the other judges.”

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February 23, 2016

Kloppenburg in runoff for Wisconsin Supreme Court

Presiding Judge Kloppenburg of District IV of the Wisconsin Court of appeals survived the primary and will face a sitting Supreme Court Justice ,Rebecca Bradley, in the April General Election. Kloppenburg has served on the Court of Appeals since 2012 following 22 years of service as an Assistant Attorney General with the Wisconsin Attorney General’s Office. The Wisconsin Court of Appeals has 16 judges divided among four districts. The presiding judges of each district are appointed by the chief judge of the Court of Appeals who is appointed by the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Court of appeal judges are elected to six year terms.

February 23, 2016

Council member Michael Talbot removes himself from Flint claims proceeding

Chief Judge Michael Talbot of the Michigan Court of Appeals has removed himself as the judge in a proceeding before the Michigan Court of Claims. Flint residents are suing Gov. Rick Snyder, Michigan’s departments of Environmental Quality and Health and Human Services, and two former Flint emergency managers for decisions that led to the city’s drinking water contamination problems.

Explaining his decision in the controversial case, Judge Talbot said: “Out of concern based on media reports and other filings with this Court that a large volume of claims might be filed from the occurrence underlying this matter, the Court peremptorily reassigned the case as an exercise in case management,” But, according to Judge Talbot: “To date, the concern of multiple filings has not materialized and the Court is persuaded that the specialized case management steps taken initially are not warranted.”

The Court of Claims is a court of statewide, limited jurisdiction established to hear and determine all civil actions filed against the State of Michigan and its agencies. Judges on the Court of Appeals with extensive trial experience are assigned to sit on the Court of Claims.

February 23, 2016

Judge Jerry Goodman named Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals Chief Judge

Judge Goodman succeeds Judge Bill Hetherington of Oklahoma City, who held the chief judge position in 2015. Goodman said that during his one year term of office he will vigorously defend Oklahoma’s court system as it exists today. There is a small group in the legislature that wants to politicize the judiciary, he said.

“They want to return to the election of judges, having them declare whether they are Democrat or Republican, run to get their party’s nomination in a primary election, then run against the opposing party’s candidate in the general election. That means a judicial candidate first must charm members of his or her political party to get the nomination, then convince everyone they are the best candidate in the general election. That begs the question whether people want someone who is popular serving as judges and bending to the whims of the people or whether they want someone who knows the law and will serve everyone, making decisions according to the U.S. and Oklahoma Constitutions.”

Goodman said he is looking forward to the challenges. Topping the list is finding ways to make the appellate process more cost efficient during the tight budget restraints facing state government. “We will be working with the Oklahoma Supreme Court, the administrative offices of the court, the Judicial Conference and all courts to apply these efficiencies,” he said. “We are going to do our part to become as efficient as we can be.”

February 23, 2016

Nevada Court of Appeals Up and Running – Doing Well

The Annual Report of the Nevada Judiciary says in just its first six months, the newly created intermediate Nevada Appeals Court has made a significant difference. The 52 page report says in the fiscal year ending June 30, the backlog of cases pending before the Supreme Court fell from 1,985 to 1,543. “The decrease in the Supreme Court’s pending caseload was due in large part to the 500 cases transferred to the state’s newly-formed three-judge Court of Appeals,” said Chief Justice Jim Hardesty in the report. Of those transferred cases, the annual report says the Appeals Court resolved 304, leaving 196 cases pending there as of June 30.

Pointing out that’s in just the Appeals Court’s first six months of operation, Hardesty said he expects the backlog will continue to decrease next year and beyond. Creation of the Court of Appeals was approved by voters in November 2014. The three initial judges, Chief Judge Michael Gibbons (pictured above) and Judges Abbi Silver and Jerome Tao, were named and started work in January. They ruled on their first case just a couple of weeks later, upholding a district court jury verdict and sentence in an attempted murder case.

The way the system works, all appeals are still filed with the Supreme Court which, then, refers some cases down to the Court of Appeals. Hardesty said during the push to have voters approve the intermediate court the high court would then have more time to focus on constitutional issues and precedent setting cases as well as more time to write authored opinions on those weighty issues. The number of authored opinions, however, didn’t increase. Instead, that number fell from 105 in 2014 to 87 in 2015, according to the report.

The report is available on the Supreme Court website at

January 28, 2016

Council member John Few selected for South Carolina Supreme Court

The South Carolina Legislature elected Court of Appeals Chief Judge John C. Few as the newest associate justice on the state Supreme Court. A judge since 2010, Few fills the seat left vacant when former Chief Justice Jean Toal retired last year. Few beat out Court of Appeals Judge H. Bruce Williams on a 92-73 vote to join the five-member panel of judges. Administrative Law Court Judge Ralph King “Tripp” Anderson III bowed out of the race less than an hour before the voting was scheduled to begin at noon on February 3.

January 28, 2016

Judge Michael Swiney to head the Tennessee Court of Appeals

The selection follows a vote by the court’s 12 members. He replaces former Chief Judge Charles D. Susano Jr., also of Knoxville, who stepped down from the leadership post on Dec. 31. Susano had served as chief judge for three years. He will remain on the court. The Court of Appeals handles civil cases. The chief judge is responsible for assigning judges to each appeal, monitoring the pace of the court’s decisions and handling administrative duties. Swiney was appointed to the Court of Appeals in 1999 by then-Gov. Don Sundquist and has been elected via a retention vote three times since then. He is a graduate of the University Of Tennessee College Of Law, where he served as an adjunct professor from 1997 to 2006. He also had a private practice in Knoxville from 1979 to his appointment to the appellate court in 1999. He will serve a one-year term as chief judge.

January 13, 2016

Frankie Moore Honored as 2015 Distinguished Judge

Chief Judge Frankie Moore of the Nebraska Court of Appeals was honored as the 2015 Nebraska Supreme Court’s Distinguished Judge for Service to the Community. Moore has been the judge of the 6th Appellate Court Judicial District since 2000. She was appointed Chief Judge in 2014. She is also the chair of the Supreme Court’s committee on self-represented litigation, which has members from across the state and across the legal spectrum. Moore was nominated for the award by Legal Aid of Nebraska. Many judges from District 6 were present to see her receive the award from the Chief Justice of the Nebraska Supreme Court.

January 13, 2016

Lisa Hardwick to co-chair Missouri Commission on Racial and Ethnic Fairness

The Commission, established by the Supreme Court of Missouri, will focus its study on six areas – the judicial system generally, the civil justice system, the criminal justice system, the juvenile justice system, the municipal justice system and the practice of law. According to Chief Justice Patricia Breckenridge, the aim is to identify solutions and make recommendations for improvement. The Commission co-chairs, in addition tp Judge Lisa White Hardwick, a former chief judge of the Missouri Court of Appeals, are William R. Bay, a partner at Thompson Coburn; and Michael A. Middleton, deputy chancellor emeritus of the University of Missouri – Columbia.

October 21, 2015

Bill Murphy Receives NCSC Distinguished Service Award

Congratulations to Bill Murphy of Michigan! The National Center for State Courts (NCSC) has awarded Bill its 2015 Distinguished Service Award, one of the organization’s highest awards.

October 14, 2015

Florida Judge William D. Palmer named president of CCJSCA

Judge William D. Palmer of the Fifth District Court of Appeal in Daytona Beach has been elected president of the Council of Chief Judges of the State Courts of Appeal (CCJSCA), a national association dedicated to improving the administration of justice in state appellate courts. He will serve a one-year term, which became effective last week during the conference’s 36th annual meeting in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

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September 11, 2015

Don’t miss the session on the First Amendment with Erwin Chemerinsky!

Don’t miss a thought-provoking session at this year’s annual conference on the First Amendment with nationally acclaimed Erwin Chemerinsky!

March 18, 2015

Roy L. Richter Appointed to Ferguson Municipal Div

We want to congratulate our colleague Roy L. Richter, who was appointed by Missouri’s Chief Justice to take over operation of the Ferguson municipal court division. As Chief Justice Mary R. Russell noted in the attached press release, Roy has the daunting task of restoring “public trust and confidence” in court operations in that troubled city. We wish Roy well!

October 31, 2014

Just Released: Time Standards for Appellate Courts

A report adopting Model Time Standards for State Appellate Courts was released by the Conference of Chief Justices, the Conference of State Court Administrators and the National Center for State Courts in August. Click here to see a copy of the full report.

June 25, 2014

NCSC Chooses Gary Lynch for Board

Congratulations to Immediate Past-President Gary Lynch, who has just been elected to a three-year term on the National Center for State Courts Board of Directors. His term will begin on August 1, 2014. His colleagues in CCJSCA know his energetic, innovative leadership will be an asset to the NCSC Board. We look forward to hearing about his good work in promoting the administration of justice throughout the United States and beyond.

March 19, 2014

Chief Brief Needs You!

Have you ever wanted a say in how the Council activities or initiatives are promoted or communicated? Maybe you have thought, “I’d like a shot at writing that article.” Or, “I can do better than THAT!”

Well, does the Newsletter Committee have an opportunity for you! Join us. Drop our current chair an email and let him know you’re interested: Carmen Messano –

January 27, 2014

Chief Murphy & CCJ Recognized!

The Michigan statewide newsletter Grand Rapids Legal News has published a glowing but well-deserved article about long-time CCJ member and current treasurer Chief Bill Murphy, along with some excellent information about the Council. Read it here:

January 27, 2014

Executive Committee Releases CCJSCA Desk Manual

At its meeting following the Annual Conference in St. Louis, the CCJSCA Executive Committee authorized the publication of the first edition of the CCJSCA Desk Manual, completing a project initiated by President Gary Lynch. The Desk Manual, in a PDF format that can be easily downloaded from the Council’s website to your computer or tablet, is intended to provide a ready reference for the Council’s organizational documents, current committee structure and assignments, and member rosters. It will be updated twice a year at the Executive Committee’s semi-annual meetings. For more details and to download the Desk Manual, simply click on the “Council Business” forum title under “Chiefs Forum” on the right side of the home page and then click on the discussion about the “CCJSCA Desk Manual – November 2, 2013 Edition.

October 22, 2013

Former CCJSCA officer named VC of Arizona Supreme Court

On October 15, 2013, the five members of the Arizona Supreme Court announced their regular five-year change in leadership, effective July 1, 2014, after electing Justice Scott Bales Chief Justice and former CCJSCA Vice President, Justice John Pelander, as Vice Chief. Justice Pelander’s new duties will include chairing the Arizona Commission on Technology and sharing many ceremonial duties with the Chief Justice. When congratulated on his “promotion,” John said: “I’m very honored and humbled, and I’ll do whatever I can to support Scott, advance his agenda, and hopefully keep Arizona’s judiciary on the cutting edge.” In their spare time, John and wife Mary enjoy hiking, spending time with their four grandchildren, and attending as many U of A football and basketball games as possible. John sends his warmest regards to all his former CCJSCA colleagues, a group he “cherishes and really misses.”

October 17, 2013

Donated iPad to be Given Away at St. Louis Conference

You could win an iPad at this year’s conference! An anonymous donor has contributed a new iPad that will be given away to a conference attendee in a random drawing to be held during the Annual Dinner in St. Louis on Friday evening, November 1. You must be present at the time of the drawing, however, to win and to join in the fun.